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In my own commentary on the Zinger research I suggest that based upon on my experience with hundreds of segregated prisoners, there are a number of unmeasured effects that the Zinger study does no measure and, give its design, could not measure. The first of these is the long-term impact of segregation on a prisonerís life, both in and outside prison. I wrote:

The Zinger study focuses on the prisonerís experience during segregation. While that is of course of immediate concern, it ignores the issue of long term impact, in particular the possibility of post-traumatic stress. Many prisoners I have interviewed and several of the experts who have studied the effects of segregation have talked of the after-life of segregation and how it has effected relationships with other prisoners, staff, and family members once they were released back into the population and into the community. (Michael Jackson, "The Psychological Effects of Administrative Segregation," (2001) 43 Canadian Journal of Criminology 109 at 112)

The other major area excluded from the Zinger research is the critical issue of the prisonerís experience of the justice or injustice of his segregation. In my many interviews with prisoners over the course of 30 years of research and advocacy, this is the single most important factor in their description of the effect that segregation had upon them. Yet, none of the psychological tests administered to the prisoners in the Zinger study, or any of the questions asked by the research interviewers, addressed this critical variable. In my commentary I wrote

It does not take a Ph.D. in criminology or psychology to realize how a regime that generates [feelings of injustice] in a prisoner blows an ill wind in terms of that prisoners successful reintegration into the community in terms of complying with parole conditions and leaving behind the values and attitudes of an outlaw. What it does take to allow prisoners to give voice to these experiences is more than the administration of standardized psychological tests and a limited interview afforded by the Zinger research methodology. As Dr. Zinger acknowledges, the constraints of his research and organizational and time limitations required that the measures selected had to have "a short administration time" (at 16) . . . For many prisoners to open up and reveal the deep impact of segregation on their lives requires the development of trust in the interviewer and a sense that there is space for them to admit their vulnerability and that their spirits can be broken, notwithstanding the face they present to their keepers. That trust is not developed when graduate students come in to administer psychological tests on behalf of absentee researchers. (at 115)

In the conclusion to my comments on Dr. Zingerís research I joined with Dr. Roberts and Dr. Gebotys in suggesting that the reform of the research agenda in determining the long term effects of segregation acquired "something else than just more of the same kind of research. It requires careful attention to the experiences of prisoners, reflected in their own voices and not just in a checklist of standardized personality tests." (at 116) This is not to suggest that Dr. Zingerís type of research is not useful; only that it is not definitive. Understanding human behaviour is always fraught with difficulties and we stand in need of the best of both qualitative and quantitative research techniques. (For an excellent discussion of the on-going debate regarding qualitative and quantitative research including a discussion of my own work as well as Dr. Gendreauís and Bontaís see Ted Palys, Research Decisions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives 2nd edition [Toronto: Harcourt Brace], Canada, 1997, 23-30)

Dr. Zinger, both in his original thesis and in his published article, went to some pains to ensure that his research findings would not be used in a way that could prove damaging to prisoners. Dr. Zinger, during the time he was employed by the Correctional Service of Canada demonstrated a real concern for protecting human rights; indeed he was a member of the CSCís Working Group on Human Rights and the Serviceís first Human Rights Officer. At the conclusion of both his thesis and article he says quite explicitly

Although this research revealed no evidence that administrative segregation for periods of up to 60 days was damaging, the findings of this study should not be used to legitimize the practice of administrative segregation. Administrative segregation remains a management tool which is grossly overused in Canadian penitentiaries. Regardless of whether prisoners adapt and cope well with the segregation experience, it is not healthy for anyone to idle aimlessly in a cell for 23 out of 24 hours a day; it simply is not a constructive way of serving a sentence; and, it is likely to impede attempts to rehabilitate and safely reintegrate prisoners into society.

Although it will always remain a legitimate management tool to deal effectively with problematic situations and individuals, its current use is perhaps symptomatic of correctional authoritiesí inability to reduce tensions and resolve conflicts in the prison context. Administrative segregation has clearly become the number one way of managing inmates and "doing business." For example, the Correctional Service of Canada (1999) reported that during fiscal year 1998/99, out of an inmate population that averaged 13,131 federally sentenced prisoners, 7,942 placements in administrative segregation took place. Such high reliance on the use of segregation needs to be carefully examined . . . Providing the tools to resolve conflicts and fostering a correctional environment respectful of human rights is the only way to break down this over-reliance on administrative segregation for managing prisoners. ((2001) 43 Canadian Journal of Criminology 79).

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