Psychologists have argued that their studies of prison crowding are useful to policymakers, whereas policymakers have dismissed many of those same studies. In part, this perceived irrelevance is a product of the emphasis in psychology on the individual rather than on larger units of analysis. However, it also stems from biases, methodological and political, that psychologists are likely to bring to research in corrections. In this article, we explore how the different perspectives of researchers and practitioners affect the conduct of research and its impact on policy. In addition, we present data that raise questions about the impact of prison crowding on illness, suicide, and death rates. We conclude with suggestions for making psychological research on prison crowding more policy relevant.
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