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The Allocation of a Scarce Correctional Resource: Deciding Who Is Eligible for an Electronic Monitoring Program


Adrian Furnham, Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, 26 Bedford Way, London WC1 0AP, Great Britain. E-mail:


Participants rated hypothetical prisoners with respect to their suitability for a place on a British Home Office electronic monitoring (tagging) program. Five dichotomous variables (gender, race, previous criminal record, dependents, skill level) were combined in a factorial fashion to generate 32 descriptions. Females were favored over males; first-time offenders over those with a criminal record; individuals with dependents over those with no dependents; and the skilled over the unskilled. White participants favored White prisoners over Black, while the reverse was true for Black participants. Those with a negative attribute (criminal record) attracted lower priority ratings than did White prisoners with a record, but those with a positive attribute attracted higher ratings than did White first-time offenders.