A Semantic Differential test was administered to 175 men serving determinate sentences of 10 years and above or indeterminate sentences in prisons through out England in order to assess attitudes to concepts selected either because of their relevance to the experience of imprisonment or because of their general importance. The sample was divided into four groups, matched for age but differing in mean total lengths of accumulated imprisonment experienced. Self-evaluation was found to decrease significantly with imprisonment. Evidence was presented which supported the contention that imprisonment itself, rather than release-selection procedures, was responsible for this trend. There was some evidence that increasing imprisonment was associated with more unfavourable attitudes to the concepts of work and father. It was suggested that these latter two changes might be a consequence of the breakdown of relationships between prisoners and their families.
British Journal of Criminology,
Vol. 14, no. 2 (Apr 1974), pp. 150-157