Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work




Social work with criminals



Physical Description

1 online resource (204 leaves)


This descriptive study was designed to elicit the kinds, extensity and intensity of needs of the inmate population of Multnomah County Correctional Institution, a minimum security jail for misdemeanants. A guiding hypothesis asserted that there were unmet needs of prisoners which could be met through social work services both within and outside the institution. Almost the entire population of the institution was interviewed. Open-end and structured responses were recorded on schedules. Five broad areas of need were defined. These were 1) physical needs -- including food, clothing, shelter, and medical care; 2) social needs -- including interpersonal ties, group membership, religious, and recreational needs; 3) psychological needs -- including the individual’s self concept, attitudes towards accepting help, desire for change, and his present level of achievement versus level of aspiration; 4) educational needs -- including academic, vocational , or remedial schooling; and 5) financial needs -- including post-release funds, debts, and employment. Statistical measures tested consistency, whether interviewers projected their own values, and interviewer reliability. Variances showed differences were due mostly to inmate traits and not interviewer bias, except that the weight given to some inmate needs varied more than chance at the .05 level. The 59 men saw themselves as having some 102 categorized needs immediate upon release and 320 long-range needs, nearly all directly related to social work services. Findings suggested additional research in the following areas: 1.To determine the similarity or dissimilarity of inmate needs of misdemeanants elsewhere. 2. To determine to what extent community resources can be made available in responding to the needs of released prisoners. 3. To determine family needs of inmates. Implications of the study favored the use of social workers within the institution itself, evaluation of existing social work services, the establishment of a job-placement program and creation of a down-town center to serve a number of secular needs.


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Portland State College. School of Social Work

Persistent Identifier