Collective Confinement: How Perceptions of Collective Efficacy Influence Feelings of Safety Among Individuals Living in Restricted Housing Units



Hartwell, Taylor Nicole

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Solitary confinement (i.e., Restricted Housing Unit/RHU) is traditionally defined as a “prison within a prison” (Brown, Cambier, & Agha, 2011). Individuals residing in RHUs experience heightened rules including restricted movement and interaction. It is expected that these heightened restrictions will influence residents’ perceptions of collective efficacy and safety while residing in restricted housing. This research uses survey and semi-structured interview data collected from individuals residing in RHUs to explore perceptions of collective efficacy and safety, and more specifically examine how the presence/absence of collective efficacy influences perceptions of safety while living in RHUs. Implications for this research include extending theoretical concepts regarding collective efficacy and perceptions of safety in carceral environments. Additionally, this work provides insight on the living experiences inside restricted housing units, and practical/policy recommendations for improving prisoner, unit, and institutional safety.



Solitary confinement, Restricted housing units, Perceptions of safety, Collective efficacy