Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Martha L. Henderson
Over the past 25 years, changes in correctional policies at federal and state levels have resulted in the creation of supermax housing for inmates in more than 44 states. Supermax prisons are defined as prisons, or separate housing units within maximum-security prisons, designed for the secure control of inmates who have engaged in the following activities in prison settings: (a) committed violent or assaultive behavior against other inmates or staff in another institution, (b) have had difficulty following the rules in lower prison security settings, or (c) have been defined as an inmate who requires housing in a more controlled and restrictive prison setting for some other reason associated with being a threat to institutional security. Thus, these facilities are said to have been designed to house inmates described as the “worst of the worst,” hardened criminals, and inmates who are unable to be controlled through other means. There is ...