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Prison Inmate Networks Study (PINS)

This study examines the social networks of prison inmates in a state correctional institution.

Project Team

  • Principal Investigator: Derek Kreager, Ph.D., Department of Sociology & Criminology (
  • Co-Principal Investigator: Gary Zajac
  • Co-Investigators: Martin Bouchard (SFU), Dana Haynie (OSU), David Schaefer (ASU), Michaela Soyer (Hunter), Jacob Young (ASU), Sara Wakefield (Rutgers)

About the Project

    • The National Science Foundation made an award of $323,814 to Penn State to support this project, for the period April 15, 2015 - March 31, 2017.
    • Seed funding was provided by the Justice Center to support development of this project, including collection of pilot data.
    • This study is related to the TC-PINS project discussed in the next section and the R-PINS project under development, discussed under the Justice Center Supported Projects section.

    Research Questions

    • What is the structure and implications of inmate network ties for in-prison health and rehabilitation and post-release recidivism?
    • How does an inmate’s position within the unit’s informal network structure relate to his out-of-prison ties and community reentry?

      Project Details

      • Project focuses on inmate social networks in a minimum security general population unit at a medium security Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution.
      • All inmates within a single unit were recruited for participation in computer assisted personal interviews, with a response rate of approximately 70% across two waves of data collection during summer and fall of 2015.
      • Project has full support from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

      Public Data

      • How do I acknowledge the use of the PINS data in an analysis? Please use the following text when acknowledging the use of the data: This research uses data from The Prison Inmate Network Study (PINS), a program project directed and designed Derek Kreager Martin Bouchard, Dana Haynie, David Schaefer, Michaela Soyer, Sara Wakefield, Jacob Young, and Gary Zajac, and is funded by grant LSS-1457193 from the National Science Foundation. Special acknowledgment is due to Corey Whichard, Ed Hayes, Gerardo Cuevas, Wade Jacobsen, and Kim Davidson for interview and coding assistance, and to Bret Bucklen and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for their valuable support of this project. Information on how to obtain the PINS data files is available on the PINS website ( No direct support was received from grant LSS-1457193 for this analysis.
      • How do I cite PINS data in a manuscript? Please use the following text when citing the use of the data: Kreager, Derek, Martin Bouchard, Dana Haynie, David Schaefer, Michaela Soyer, Sara Wakefield, Jacob Young, and Gary Zajac. 2015. The Prison Inmate Network Study (PINS), Wave I, 1995. State College, PA: Justice Center for Research, Penn State University.


        • This study will have important implications for understanding how inmate social networks influence inmates’ lives and wellbeing in prison, as well as their reentry prospects.


        View the Project Abstract (.docx file)