Type of Document Dissertation Author Etheridge, Mary Anne URN etd-04052005-130320 Title The Development of the Transition Readiness Scale for Female Inmates Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Educational Psychology and Learning Systems, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Gary W. Peterson Committee Co-Chair R. William English Committee Co-Chair Michael G. Railey Committee Member Richard L. Tate Committee Member Keywords
- Female Inmates
- Female Criminals
- Female Offenders
Date of Defense 2005-02-28 Availability unrestricted AbstractWhile there has been an increase in research concerning female offenders in recent years, there is no current standard for the comprehensive assessment of readiness for transition from a correctional environment into the community for this population. Most of the literature on female offenders focuses on factors contributing to criminal behavior and factors that predict recidivism risk with little focus on assessing readiness for transition from incarceration into society. Assessing and then addressing the special needs of women during incarceration may help them successfully re-enter society, live a quality life, and thus avoid recidivism. This study represents the first steps in the construction of a reliable and valid needs assessment, the Transition Readiness Scale, to pinpoint and target the needs of female inmates and enhance readiness for release.
The Transition Readiness Scale was based on a theory of readiness involving two dimensions: complexity and capability (Sampson, Peterson, Reardon, & Lenz, 2000). Complexity refers to readiness factors relating to an individual’s environment or circumstances. Capability refers to factors relating to an individual’s abilities or competencies. Upon review of the literature concerning female inmates, nine content areas were chosen to represent the most salient readiness areas in female inmates: substance abuse, physical health, mental health, education, employment, support, spirituality, life skills/resources, and parenting.
The instrument was developed in three phases. During the first phase, the items on the Transition Readiness Scale were written to assess the domains of complexity and capability across the nine content areas listed above. An average of five items per content area were written to represent each domain of complexity and capability, for a total of one hundred initial items. The items underwent professional critique and serial revisions. Data collection to refine the instrument was conducted utilizing female correctional inmates at a large southeastern federal women’s prison. The second phase, Tryout, involved fifty subjects completing the 100-item Transition Readiness Scale. Items on the instrument were eliminated if they did not meet certain inclusion criteria or demonstrate significant statistical variability, resulting in an 85-item instrument. Also during this phase, a team of expert judges was asked to sort the items into the domains of “complexity” and “capability” for the purpose of assessing content validity.
During the third phase, Field Trial, three hundred and fifty inmates completed a reduced version of the instrument, producing 324 valid data sets. These subjects also completed a background questionnaire for the purpose of describing the development sample. The data for this phase were analyzed using a confirmatory factor analysis. Background information was compiled and used to describe the sample.
The results of this research indicate that the items on the Transition Readiness Scale represent the constructs of capability and complexity. Support was found for many of the content domains to be considered subscales of the measure, but such support was not found for some. The TRS can be considered a screening tool for the assessment of female inmates’ capability and complexity needs to promote readiness for release into community living. Further development of the instrument is needed for all content domains to be considered subscales, and further reliability and validity studies need to be conducted.
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