TDOC officer perceptions and mainstreaming death row inmates in Tennessee

Jennifer L Larson, Tennessee State University


This study examined the potential benefits of mainstreaming death row inmates into the general population at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution (RMSI) in Nashville, Tennessee. Multiple analyses were performed to determine whether death sentenced inmates had higher rates of institutional misconduct than their general population counterparts, and whether age and/or race were correlated with their behavior. The results revealed the death sentenced cohort (N = 95) incurred 44 disciplinary write-ups and the general population group (n = 107) had 269 disciplinary offenses during the two-year study period. There was an inverse relationship between age and institutional misconduct for both groups. The association between race and institutional misconduct was moderate but did not reach statistical significance at the .05 level. The opinions and attitudes of uniformed correctional staff at RMSI were measured to determine if they would support implementation of a mainstreaming program in Tennessee. While their opinions about the institutional behavior of both groups were congruent with the inmates’ actual disciplinary offenses, their attitudes toward mainstreaming were not favorable. The results also revealed that none of the staff demographic characteristics were correlated with their opinions about inmate behavior or toward mainstreaming. The findings of this study should provide a platform for legislators and policy makers to explore the possible advantages and/or disadvantages of implementing a mainstreaming program.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Jennifer L Larson, "TDOC officer perceptions and mainstreaming death row inmates in Tennessee" (2009). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI1467895.