A Context for Deviance: Understanding Drug Use Inside Prison

Wayne Gillespie, East Tennessee State University

Elements from differential association and social learning theory were incorporated into a contextual model to explain drug use inside prison. Data came from self-administered questionnaires given to over 1,000 inmates in 30 correctional institutions throughout Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio. Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) was used to examine the impact of correctional context on individual behavior. Preliminary results indicated that learning or association variables from both the micro and macro level significantly explained drug use inside prison. A contextual, social learning model of prisoner drug use is recommended for future research.

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Updated 05/20/2006