Institutional misconduct and differential parole eligibility among capital inmates

Robert G. Morris, Dennis R. Longmire, Jacqueline Buffington-Vollum, Scott Vollum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Managing career inmates (e.g., capital murderers) is a serious burden for prison administrators and taxpayers. Research findings are mixed as to whether such inmates will engage in increased levels of institutional misconduct. Using complete disciplinary histories from non-death-sentenced capital inmates in Texas whose offenses occurred between 1987 and 1994, the authors explored the need for increased security levels between capital murderers sentenced to markedly different parole eligibility policies (15 years vs. 35 to 40 years before becoming eligible for parole). They also explored whether career inmates represent greater management challenges because they have "nothing to lose," compared with capital inmates with less time to parole eligibility. Findings suggest that capital inmates sentenced to longer mandatory prison terms are less likely to engage in serious and violent misconduct. Policy implications are discussed in terms of prison administration, fiscal practicability, and career inmate social development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-438
Number of pages22
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Capital murder
  • Deterrence
  • Inmates
  • LWOP
  • Misconduct
  • Prison
  • Violence


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