Structured Assessment of Correctional Adaptation (SACA): A measure of the impact of incarceration on the mentally ill in a therapeutic setting

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prisonization; mentally ill offenders; prisons; mental disorders; incarceration; hospital


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Clinicians have observed that psychiatric patients with correctional histories evidence attitudes and behaviors that seem adaptive in penal environments but are maladaptive in mental health settings. This study sought to assess the reliability and concurrent validity of a rating scale designed to measure correctional adaptation using a sample of 64 patients from a state psychiatric hospital. Scale ratings were obtained through structured interviews, whereas predictor variables were gleaned from chart review and selfreport. The scale demonstrated good interrater reliability (ICC = .83) and acceptable internal consistency (α = .67). Of the variables evaluated, two were significantly correlated with Structured Assessment of Correctional Adaptation (SACA) total scores, total months sentenced to prison or jail (r = .26), and frequency of disciplinary tickets while in prison or jail (r = .31). Stepwise regression analyses revealed only the latter variable significantly predicted SACA score (R = .31), F(1, 58) = 6.27, p < .05. Clinical implications of these findings, the scale, and the construct of correctional adaptation are discussed.

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