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Justin D. Strong

Bio: Justin D. Strong is an academic researcher from University of California, Irvine. The author has contributed to research in topics: Solitary confinement & Psychopathology. The author has an hindex of 2, co-authored 4 publications receiving 41 citations. Previous affiliations of Justin D. Strong include University of California, Los Angeles.

Papers
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Understanding disproportionate psychopathology matters for developing prevention policies and addressing the unique needs of people who have experienced solitary confinement, an extreme element of mass incarceration.
Abstract: Objectives. To specify symptoms and measure prevalence of psychological distress among incarcerated people in long-term solitary confinement.Methods. We gathered data via semistructured, in-depth interviews; Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) assessments; and systematic reviews of medical and disciplinary files for 106 randomly selected people in solitary confinement in the Washington State Department of Corrections in 2017. We performed 1-year follow-up interviews and BPRS assessments with 80 of these incarcerated people, and we present the results of our qualitative content analysis and descriptive statistics.Results. BPRS results showed clinically significant symptoms of depression, anxiety, or guilt among half of our research sample. Administrative data showed disproportionately high rates of serious mental illness and self-harming behavior compared with general prison populations. Interview content analysis revealed additional symptoms, including social isolation, loss of identity, and sensory hypersensitivity.Conclusions. Our coordinated study of rating scale, interview, and administrative data illustrates the public health crisis of solitary confinement. Because 95% or more of all incarcerated people, including those who experienced solitary confinement, are eventually released, understanding disproportionate psychopathology matters for developing prevention policies and addressing the unique needs of people who have experienced solitary confinement, an extreme element of mass incarceration.

62 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
09 Oct 2020-PLOS ONE
TL;DR: It is found that solitary confinement is associated not just with mental, but also with physical health problems, and given the disproportionate use of solitary among incarcerated people of color, these symptoms are most likely to affect those populations.
Abstract: We examine how solitary confinement correlates with self-reported adverse physical health outcomes, and how such outcomes extend the understanding of the health disparities associated with incarceration. Using a mixed methods approach, we find that solitary confinement is associated not just with mental, but also with physical health problems. Given the disproportionate use of solitary among incarcerated people of color, these symptoms are most likely to affect those populations. Drawing from a random sample of prisoners (n = 106) in long-term solitary confinement in the Washington State Department of Corrections in 2017, we conducted semi-structured, in-depth interviews; Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) assessments; and systematic reviews of medical and disciplinary files for these subjects. We also conducted a paper survey of the entire long-term solitary confinement population (n = 225 respondents) and analyzed administrative data for the entire population of prisoners in the state in 2017 (n = 17,943). Results reflect qualitative content and descriptive statistical analysis. BPRS scores reflect clinically significant somatic concerns in 15% of sample. Objective specification of medical conditions is generally elusive, but that, itself, is a highly informative finding. Using subjective reports, we specify and analyze a range of physical symptoms experienced in solitary confinement: (1) skin irritations and weight fluctuation associated with the restrictive conditions of solitary confinement; (2) un-treated and mis-treated chronic conditions associated with the restrictive policies of solitary confinement; (3) musculoskeletal pain exacerbated by both restrictive conditions and policies. Administrative data analyses reveal disproportionate rates of racial/ethnic minorities in solitary confinement. This analysis raises the stakes for future studies to evaluate comparative prevalence of objective medical diagnoses and potential causal mechanisms for the physical symptoms specified here, and for understanding differential use of solitary confinement and its medically harmful sequelae.

21 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors examine three specific infrastructural changes to solitary confinement conditions and practices implemented in Washington state prisons with such harm minimization goals in mind: (1) building so-called "nature imagery rooms" to play videos of outdoor spaces, (2) eliminating punishments for self-harm, and (3) conducting daily cell-front wellness checks.
Abstract: BACKGROUND In light of mounting evidence of the physical and psychological harms associated with solitary confinement, many correctional systems, state legislators, courts, and even international human rights bodies are increasingly recommending and implementing reforms to mitigate the harms of solitary confinement, if not abolish the practice entirely. In this piece, we examine three specific infrastructural changes to solitary confinement conditions and practices implemented in Washington state prisons with such harm minimization goals in mind: (1) building so-called "nature imagery rooms" to play videos of outdoor spaces, (2) eliminating punishments for self-harm, and (3) conducting daily cell-front wellness checks. RESULTS Drawing on 183 in-depth qualitative interviews with both staff working in and people imprisoned in solitary confinement units conducted in Washington state restrictive housing units in 2017, we find that these three reforms not only resulted in limited successes but also generated new conflicts. Institutional logics such as deprivation, risk-management, and responsibilization ultimately impeded even the most modest attempts to mitigate the inherently harsh practice of solitary confinement. The limits of these reforms are due in part to individual choices made by people imprisoned in solitary confinement and staff working in these units, as well as the larger cultural norms that shape life in restrictive housing units. CONCLUSIONS Incrementalist reforms aimed at softening the environment of solitary confinement may actually serve to increase the strain and stress experienced by people confined to and working within them. Even the most well-intentioned reforms, like those attempted by the Washington DOC, should be scrutinized in order to determine if they are producing the desired outcomes, or instead, reproducing a different, but nonetheless damaging set of harms to people imprisoned in solitary confinement. Further, even well-intentioned reforms are often stymied by the underlying institutional logics of restrictive housing spaces.

2 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper , a case study of Arizona's prison healthcare crisis is conducted, where the authors argue that Arizona's brand of penal austerity anticipates the scaling back of social services across the state, but effectively subjected prisoners to a perpetual deferment of care.
Abstract: Prison healthcare reform and litigation have emerged as critical sites of social and political struggle in early twenty-first century punishment. In the case of Arizona, privatization of its prison healthcare system maintained commitments to cheap and mean punishment in the wake of economic crisis, which led to an ongoing class-action lawsuit over prisoners’ rights violations. By conducting a case study of Arizona's prison healthcare crisis, this article mobilizes important interventions in the theoretical accounts of late mass incarceration and the penal state. Not only did Arizona's brand of penal austerity anticipate the scaling back of social services across the state, but effectively subjected prisoners to a perpetual deferment of care. Drawing upon this sociopolitical context, I elaborate a theory of penal extraction whereby care capacity is not only removed from the prison, but the prisoner's life becomes like an exhaustible resource.

Cited by
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The COVID-19 pandemic infiltrated the United States in early 2020, with correctional facilities becoming hot spots for the novel coronavirus shortly thereafter as mentioned in this paper, using data gathered from Departments of State and Health and Human Services.
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic infiltrated the United States in early 2020, with correctional facilities becoming hot spots for the novel coronavirus shortly thereafter. Using data gathered from Departments...

45 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is essential to clarify the critical differences between punitive solitary confinement and the ethical use of medical isolation and quarantine during a pandemic so that all those invested in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in prisons can work together to integrate medically sound, humane forms of medical isolate and quarantine that follow community standards of care.
Abstract: In the face of the continually worsening COVID-19 pandemic, jails and prisons have become the greatest vectors of community transmission and are a point of heightened crisis and fear within the global crisis. Critical public health tools to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 are medical isolation and quarantine, but use of these tools is complicated in prisons and jails where decades of overuse of punitive solitary confinement is the norm. This has resulted in advocates denouncing the use of any form of isolation and attorneys litigating to end its use. It is essential to clarify the critical differences between punitive solitary confinement and the ethical use of medical isolation and quarantine during a pandemic. By doing so, then all those invested in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in prisons can work together to integrate medically sound, humane forms of medical isolation and quarantine that follow community standards of care rather than punitive forms of solitary confinement to manage COVID-19.

44 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, a longitudinal ecological study among all incarcerated persons in 14 Massachusetts state prisons between April 21, 2020, and January 11, 2021 was conducted to estimate the associations between prison crowding, community COVID-19 transmission, and prison incidence rates of COVID19.
Abstract: Importance COVID-19 incidence and mortality are higher among incarcerated persons than in the general US population, but the extent to which prison crowding contributes to their COVID-19 risk is unknown. Objective To estimate the associations between prison crowding, community COVID-19 transmission, and prison incidence rates of COVID-19. Design, Setting, and Participants This was a longitudinal ecological study among all incarcerated persons in 14 Massachusetts state prisons between April 21, 2020, and January 11, 2021. Exposures The primary exposure of interest was prison crowding, measured by (1) the size of the incarcerated population as a percentage of the prison’s design capacity and (2) the percentage of incarcerated persons housed in single-cell units. The analysis included the weekly COVID-19 incidence in the county where each prison is located as a covariate. Main Outcomes and Measures The primary outcome was the weekly COVID-19 incidence rate as determined by positive SARS-CoV-2 tests among incarcerated persons at each prison over discrete 1-week increments. Results There was on average 6876 people incarcerated in 14 prisons during the study period. The median level of crowding during the observation period ranged from 25% to 155% of design capacity. COVID-19 incidence was significantly higher in prisons where the incarcerated population was a larger percentage of the prison’s design capacity (incidence rate ratio [IRR] per 10-percentage-point difference, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.03-1.27). COVID-19 incidence was lower in prisons where a higher proportion of incarcerated people were housed in single-cell units (IRR for each 10-percentage-point increase in single-cell units, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.73-0.93). COVID-19 transmission in the surrounding county was consistently associated with COVID-19 incidence in prisons (IRR [for each increase of 10 cases per 100 000 person-weeks in the community], 1.06; 95% CI, 1.05-1.08). Conclusions and Relevance This longitudinal ecological study found that within 14 Massachusetts state prisons, increased crowding was associated with increased incidence rates of COVID-19. Researchers and policy makers should explore strategies that reduce prison crowding, such as decarceration, as potential ways to mitigate COVID-19 morbidity and mortality among incarcerated persons.

32 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
12 Jun 2020
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors describe how people confined in jail and prison are especially vulnerable to outbreaks of communicable diseases such as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Abstract: People confined in jail and prison are especially vulnerable to outbreaks of communicable diseases such as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Corrections officials across the country have respond...

31 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, a cross-sectional study was conducted through online questionnaires during April 2020, adapting the Psychological Assessment Protocol of the High Performance Sports Center of Murcia (Spain), to assess the psychological effects of confinement in a crosscultural sample of 310 athletes (141 women and 169 men) from different countries in Europe, Asia, and America, and from diverse sports disciplines.
Abstract: The COVID-19 outbreak has affected the sports field unprecedentedly. The emergency alert has deprived athletes of training in a suitable environment, as they are faced with cancellations of relevant events in their sports careers. This situation can cause stress levels and other emotional disorders similar to those experienced by athletes during periods of injury. Since the relationship between psychological factors and sports injuries is well-studied, the Global Psychological Model of Sports Injury (MGPLD) is applied to this historical situation for athletes. The purpose of this study was to analyze the relationships between perfectionism and trait anxiety with indicators of mental health (mood, depression, state anxiety, and stress) in high-performance athletes during confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to explore the coping strategies that athletes have applied and whether they are perceived as useful for managing negative emotional states. A cross-sectional study was conducted through online questionnaires during April 2020, adapting the Psychological Assessment Protocol of the High-Performance Sports Center of Murcia (Spain), to assess the psychological effects of confinement in a cross-cultural sample of 310 athletes (141 women and 169 men) from different countries in Europe, Asia, and America, and from diverse sports disciplines. The protocol comprised six instruments that test perfectionism, trait anxiety, mood states, stress, depression, coping strategies, and sleep. It was answered online via Google Forms. The results show that maladaptive perfectionism was related to all the indicators of athletes' mental health. However, athletes' levels of anxiety, stress, and depressive symptoms are relatively low, and the use of coping strategies such as cognitive restructuring and emotional calm was associated with lower levels of negative emotional states. Besides, the Iceberg Profile, a suitable fit for the mental health model, is observed in the mood of athletes, both in men and in women, although women showed higher levels of anxiety, stress, and depression than men. A strong relationship was observed between maladaptive perfectionism and martial arts sports discipline, superior to other sports. In short, it can be concluded that high-performance athletes in the studied sample showed negative emotional state values below the expected average. Finally, the proposals for practical applications of the results collected are discussed.

31 citations