Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT?

Posted by: Kriston

Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/14/09 04:36 PM

A debate has arisen surrounding the comments of one local GT advocate. He regularly gets up in front of groups and says that 50% of the country's prison inmates are GT.

Now, this seems like a lot of hooey to DH and me (and others I've talked to!), and while we appreciate his real point--GT kids are an at-risk population--and would never stand up and argue with him publicly, I worry that his use of what seems to be ridiculous, invented stats actually hurts his message. (Has the guy never watched "Cops"?!)

Does anyone know where to find some sort of reputable estimate about the percentage of GT prison inmates?

I Googled it, tried Ask.com, and checked SENG and DavidsonGifted.org. No luck.

There's a BBC story about the average IQ of British prisoners (around 80), which seems pretty compelling. But it isn't about American prisoners.

There's this criminology book:
http://books.google.com/books?id=u07ci3cidVsC&pg=PA173&lpg=PA173&dq=20%25+prison+IQ&source=bl&ots=uBZpbQgKHS&sig=uWNYd3k-KTKpCQ2FA1-nU_pZ3X4&hl=en&ei=NDa8SeXwOIK3twf8qrX3Cw&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=6&ct=result#PPA172,M1

On page 172, the book indicates a 17-point average IQ difference between habitually offending inmates and the general, non-offending population. Inmates have the lower scores. Still no numbers or percentages, though that difference makes it statistically unlikely that half of all inmates are GT, I would think.

There's also a book titled Gifted Grown Ups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential that apparently claims 20% of inmates are GT, though even that number seems high to me, and I wasn't persuaded that this was anything but anti-GT propoganda. I'd rather get something from a source that is at least somewhat unbiased, if not actively pro-GT. (Link here: http://school.familyeducation.com/gifted-education/criminology/40932.html )

I could simply ask him to cite HIS source, of course. But I was hoping to be helpful and not merely difficult...

Anyone have any sources I could cite?

Thanks for any help you can offer!
Posted by: Dazed&Confuzed

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/14/09 04:58 PM

Not seen that stat before. I've only seen that half of highschool drop outs are GT so some fraction of those might end up in prison.
Posted by: hkc75

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/14/09 05:15 PM

I know suicide and depression are risk factors for the GT population. I can believe that statistic of inmates for the sheer fact that so many GT kids get mislabeled ODD when they are merely inquisitive (obviously some actually earn that label, those are not the ones I am talking about). Once you get a wrong label, you might decide it is not worth the effort to change the minds of those around you and you get stuck in a spiral. Many of us have read that GT kids need strong advocates and parental support. I just hate thinking about those GT kids who don't get that.

Just my $.02. No references to back that up.
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/14/09 05:18 PM

Yes, that's the same link I found, Dottie. We must Google the same terms! LOL!

But I just don't really trust the primary source they're quoting there. It sounds very negative about GTness. I'd like a more pro-GT source, especially since most of the things I've found indicate a lower-than-average IQ in the prison population. (And that's a factoid that fits with my common sense take on it...)
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/14/09 05:24 PM

hkc: I certainly believe that GT kids are at risk, which is why I never argued publicly with the guy. But prison is a far cry from depression and even dropping out of school...

Everything I'm reading (except the link that Dottie and I both found, and even that says 20%--much lower than 50%!) indicates that IQ scores are roughly 10-20 points lower in inmates than in the general, non-offending population. That makes it hard to believe that so many could possibly have GT-level IQs, since they would skew the average higher.

*sigh*
Posted by: keet

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/14/09 05:25 PM

Logically, that doesn't make any sense to me.

On December 31, 2007 Ė 2,293,157 prisoners were held in federal or state prisons or in local jails. (from http://ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/prisons.htm, Bureau of justice statistics).

If half of those inmates are GT, that's 1,146,579.

In the general population, 3% are GT. There are 303,824,640 (according to https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/print/us.html) people in the US.
If 3% of the people in the country are gifted, there are 9,114,739 gifted people in the US.

That would mean that 13% (1M/9M) of all the gifted people in the US are in prison or jail. Hmmmmm. I'm having a hard time believing that.

If we just use prison numbers, I get 1,532,817 (same source) prisoners, 766,408 of whom are alegedly gifted. That's 8.5% of the gifted population in jail.



Posted by: Kriston

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/14/09 05:27 PM

Originally Posted By: Dottie
GMGA? Great Minds Google Alike!

It seemed high to me as well. And any such quotes probably don't consider 2E situations, where the other "E" is behavioral. Yet those quotes are thrown out as if every GT kid is at great risk. I mean there are GT kids with serious behavioral/emotional issues.


Sure. Absolutely so.

I have no doubt that there are some GT people in prison. But HALF of the inmates? Even 20%?!?

I just really don't buy it considering the average scores. But I can't seem to prove it...

Frustrating! frown
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/14/09 05:29 PM

Originally Posted By: keet
Logically, that doesn't make any sense to me.

On December 31, 2007 – 2,293,157 prisoners were held in federal or state prisons or in local jails. (from http://ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/prisons.htm, Bureau of justice statistics).

If half of those inmates are GT, that's 1,146,579.

In the general population, 3% are GT. There are 303,824,640 (according to https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/print/us.html) people in the US.
If 3% of the people in the country are gifted, there are 9,114,739 gifted people in the US.

That would mean that 13% (1M/9M) of all the gifted people in the US are in prison or jail. Hmmmmm. I'm having a hard time believing that.

If we just use prison numbers, I get 1,532,817 (same source) prisoners, 766,408 of whom are alegedly gifted. That's 8.5% of the gifted population in jail.


Oooh! That helps, keet! I didn't even think about going about it that way. Smart! I'll use that!

smile
Posted by: keet

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/14/09 05:29 PM

I honestly think there's a lower average IQ in prisons just because lower IQ people have fewer opportunities than higher IQ people. Also, lower IQ people are less likely to be able to get themselves out of a bad situation.
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/14/09 05:31 PM

I agree. I think there's also a tendency in GT kids for empathy and a heightened sense of justice that tends to preclude many bad acts. Not all, of course, but a noticable tendency.

So to have 13% or even 8.5% of the GT population in prison? I don't buy it anymore than you do!
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/14/09 05:33 PM

But you're smart enough that you wouldn't annouce that on a public forum so they could catch you.

Oh, wait...

LOL!
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/14/09 05:35 PM

ROFL!
Posted by: Ruby

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/14/09 06:12 PM

Here's a link to a book by Anthony Walsh & Lee Ellis, "Criminology: an Interdisciplinary Approach" and it includes a discussion on IQ. It mentions a 9-14 point gap in IQ between offenders and non-offenders. However, only a 1 point difference between less serious offenders and non-offenders compared to 17 points between serious persistent offenders and non-offenders.

http://books.google.com/books?id=u07ci3cidVsC&pg=PA173&lpg=PA173&dq=prisons+high+IQ&source=bl&ots=uBZpbQjIPX&sig=I_-hiJF0Mxn1cSTFt-4OnRcWgI0#PPA171,M1

The part I found most interesting was in the section of "Intellectual Imbalance". The imbalance is when there is a 12 point difference between VIQ and PIQ. Criminals are significantly more likely to have a VIQ<PIQ imbalance.
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/14/09 06:29 PM

LOL! That's the same book I linked to in that monstrous link!

You guys and I google alike!

laugh
Posted by: Ruby

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/14/09 06:33 PM

I guess I was too busy reading the info I found to read the new posts. Hate it when that happens wink
Posted by: Ruby

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/14/09 06:41 PM

Oh, no I see. It was in your original post. How silly of me.
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/14/09 07:06 PM

Nah. No worries! I appreciate your helping! smile

It was hard to tell that's what I was citing from that icky long link I posted and just the little factoid I pulled out of it. Plus you're helping to confirm to me that I found pretty much everything that's out there...and the info just doesn't exist. (So he should stop stating it like it's a fact!)

BTW, I think you're right about the VIQ<PIQ imbalance being fascinating. I read that also, so I'm glad you posted about it.
Posted by: Mommy2myEm

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/14/09 07:24 PM

I was able to do a quick search on my medical journal database. I found an article from UK that states average IQ of inmate there is 87 and many suffer from learning disabilities.

Another study from Chicago prisons compared IQ as a predictor of violent behavior states average IQ for Caucasians as 93.4 and African Americans as 85.4. They considered an IQ of 101 as high at it was a incredibly small group (less than 1%, if I remember correctly) that were qualified as high.

Study from the 80s used BETA I and BETA II IQ test and found a mean IQ of 95.4 among about 6,000 inmates. 2.6% scored 120 and above.

I also found two references that IQ test when repeated after long continuous imprisonment usually yield a lower score due to lack of mental stimulation. The longer you are in prison, the lower the score.

Sorry I can't give you references since these are password protected journals, but I can get pdf's copied if needed.

I didn't see any references to the same information as in the OP. I find that contradicting to many studies in fact.

Jen
Posted by: Dazed&Confuzed

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/15/09 06:15 AM

Originally Posted By: Ruby


http://books.google.com/books?id=u07ci3cidVsC&pg=PA173&lpg=PA173&dq=prisons+high+IQ&source=bl&ots=uBZpbQjIPX&sig=I_-hiJF0Mxn1cSTFt-4OnRcWgI0#PPA171,M1

The part I found most interesting was in the section of "Intellectual Imbalance". The imbalance is when there is a 12 point difference between VIQ and PIQ. Criminals are significantly more likely to have a VIQ<PIQ imbalance.


WOW very, very interesting! Did they speculate for any reasons why?
Posted by: Dazed&Confuzed

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/15/09 06:22 AM

Mommy2MyEm - interesting! That supports the info kids kept in orphanages will have higher IQs once placed with good, nurturing families and that if put back in the orphanage environment, IQ drops once again.

When they look at prisons, are they also including white-collar prisons? Those would have significantly higher IQs I would think.
Posted by: Skylersmommy

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/15/09 09:12 AM

Originally Posted By: Dazed&Confuzed

When they look at prisons, are they also including white-collar prisons? Those would have significantly higher IQs I would think.


When I read this thread this is the first thing I thought about. From what I know about prisons they mix the population. So people who did white collar crimes and people who did violient crimes are in the same place. So I guess maybe the question is what % of the people in prison did white collar crimes? How many of them are gifted? I'm not saying that there aren't gifted in the violient crime population, I just don't think it would be very high.
Posted by: delbows

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/15/09 09:27 AM

I donít think prisons are mixed. I have always understood there are different levels of security based on the violence of the crime. Jails are mixed though.
Maybe this all depends on which state they are located in.
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/15/09 10:23 AM

M2MyEm: Thank you! That's very, very helpful! That makes much more sense to me.

Now I just have to figure out a way to get this info to the guy in a way that will persuade him to stop spouting nonsense AND that won't embarrass him. I don't want to make im feel bad; I just want him to stop using fake facts!

Thanks! (And BTW, further references or discussion are welcome! I'm not trying to shut this thread down or anything. I just wanted to say thanks. smile )
Posted by: Mommy2myEm

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/15/09 10:38 AM

Originally Posted By: Skylersmommy
Originally Posted By: Dazed&Confuzed

When they look at prisons, are they also including white-collar prisons? Those would have significantly higher IQs I would think.


When I read this thread this is the first thing I thought about. From what I know about prisons they mix the population. So people who did white collar crimes and people who did violient crimes are in the same place. So I guess maybe the question is what % of the people in prison did white collar crimes? How many of them are gifted? I'm not saying that there aren't gifted in the violient crime population, I just don't think it would be very high.


The book that was referenced earlier (the big link) states something like that people with high IQ commit as many crimes as people with lower IQ, but don't get caught as often. Not sure what they base this statement on, since if you don't get caught, how would you know the IQ of that person?

The study I found out of Chicago prisons, looked at people with shorter sentences, which would exclude extremely violent crimes IMHO. Also one study out of Louisiana prisons looked at 6,000 inmates across the board, so white collar crimes would be included there also.

There are so many variables and the studies out there aren't usually looking at IQ alone, but use it as a variable for something else. Therefore getting a cut and dry answer from them isn't always possible. This is an interesting topic though so I will take another look in the database I have.

Jen
Posted by: Skylersmommy

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/15/09 11:05 AM

Originally Posted By: delbows
I don&#146;t think prisons are mixed. I have always understood there are different levels of security based on the violence of the crime. Jails are mixed though.
Maybe this all depends on which state they are located in.


You may be right about it varies from state to state, that much I don't know. In the state I live I know it's doesn't. They mix them all.
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/15/09 01:49 PM

Originally Posted By: Mommy2myEm
The book that was referenced earlier (the big link) states something like that people with high IQ commit as many crimes as people with lower IQ, but don't get caught as often. Not sure what they base this statement on, since if you don't get caught, how would you know the IQ of that person?


Jen, as I read that passage, they were theorizing that this might be one of the reasons for a larger percentage of people with below-average IQs in prison. That's why they didn't cite sources. Obviously there's no evidence one way or the other, but it is a logical argument to make.

Another logical theory might be that fewer people with above-average IQs commit crimes. And I'm sure there are others...
Posted by: Austin

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/15/09 07:24 PM

It really depends.

My maternal uncle was a clinical psychologist and worked with the criminally insane.

His contention was that the people in prison were the ones who got caught AND who got convicted - meaning the dumb and disadvantaged.

The smart people who were criminally insane just found a way to mask their crimes, come up with clever crimes, or became satisfied with their lives because they had jobs and careers.

If you look at all the missing people in the USA, you can only draw the conclusion that there are some very seriously sick and clever people running around. Or they become politicians.







Posted by: mizzoumommy

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/18/09 11:39 PM

This discussion on another board that I frequent, is tangentially related to this thread; so I'm tossing it in: http://messageboards.ivillage.com/n/mb/message.asp?webtag=iv-pshottopedu&msg=2513.1&ctx=0 I should warn everyone it's from a debate board and the premise is that IQs regress, so that values are more important than inate intelligence. I agree with the second half of that statement to some extent, but not necessarily with the first part. Oh and the question of "what percentage of prisoners are gifted?" came up with reference to ODD, etc. Anyway, I thought it was interesting.
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/19/09 06:14 AM

So she's saying that everyone in some prison (somewhere...) is not only GT, but is PG!?!?! Wha-huh? Really? I'm not buying THAT for a second!

She cites no source because "That's shouldn't be necessary," but that one REALLY needs a source! Not to mention that given her take on GTness, I'm sure not going to be likely to take her word on it!

Then there are the leaps of logic she's taking. Not everyone with ODD goes on to become a criminal!

Whew! I need to go get my blood pressure back to normal...not only as a mom of a GT child, but as a teacher of argument. eek
Posted by: BWBShari

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/19/09 06:54 AM

How I missed this thread, I don't know but better late than never.

Did you know that when the US is planning on building a new prison they base the number of beds on the reading scores of the 4th graders in the state?

Current statistics show that 65% of children in 4th grade are below level in reading. The government has determined that of those 65%, 85% will at some point go to prison.

The drop out rate of GT kids is 5%. The functional illiteracy rate in prison is 80%. GT kids as a general rule are not illiterate nor functioning below grade level in 4th grade.
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/19/09 07:05 AM

Now, see, THAT makes sense to me! Do you happen to have a source for that info? I'd love to be able to send the guy to something official and not just expect him to take our word for it...
Posted by: inky

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/19/09 10:02 AM

The director of a local reading camp made a similar point that stuck with me about the relationship between future prison populations and literacy rates. Don't know that any of this is official enough though.

Quote:
Evidence shows that children who do not read by third grade often fail to catch up and are more likely to drop out of school, take drugs, or go to prison. So many nonreaders wind up in jail that Arizona officials have found they can use the rate of illiteracy to help calculate future prison needs.


http://www.wonderofreading.org/statistics.htm
http://tryingtofollow.com/2006/04/10/failing-reading-scores-prison-cells/
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/19/09 01:37 PM

Oooh! Great citation, Inky! Thanks!

I'm prepping stuff for this weekend, when I should see the guy...
Posted by: Austin

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/19/09 03:41 PM

Originally Posted By: BWBShari
How I missed this thread, I don't know but better late than never.

Did you know that when the US is planning on building a new prison they base the number of beds on the reading scores of the 4th graders in the state?

Current statistics show that 65% of children in 4th grade are below level in reading. The government has determined that of those 65%, 85% will at some point go to prison.

The drop out rate of GT kids is 5%. The functional illiteracy rate in prison is 80%. GT kids as a general rule are not illiterate nor functioning below grade level in 4th grade.


I think if you break this out by race, it presents a different picture. I also think if you broke this out by school district origins, it would paint a picture. And whether the kid had a stable upbringing with two caregivers.

Here is the breakdown from the DOJ.

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/prisons.htm

Quick graph on crime types. Note that violent crimes are not ID as to whether drug related - but many are.

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/corrtyp.htm



Posted by: Austin

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/19/09 03:46 PM

Here is some more - including race AND citizenship. Note that Mexicans make up 17% of the population in Federal Prisons.

http://www.bop.gov/news/quick.jsp

I also found some data on IQ for Texas Prisons that seems to suggest IQs are below the mean, but not by much.

http://www.laits.utexas.edu/txp_media/html/just/features/0504_01/slide2.html

Posted by: Kriston

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/19/09 03:47 PM

I'm not really interested in racial breakdowns or family backgrounds. Race isn't a factor the guy mentions. I'm only interested in GT population information.

Thanks, Austin.
Posted by: BWBShari

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/20/09 07:10 AM

I'll dig it up for you Kriston...
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 03/20/09 07:38 AM

Thanks, Shari! I really appreciate your help!
Posted by: Talentdifferent

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 05/02/17 02:08 PM

Hello

As I read MK Streznewsky's book, I was also intrigued by this 20% of inmates who are gifted.

I ended up finding some communications which might interest you, as I think they are the source of information for MK Streznewsky.

Harvey, S., & Seeley, K. (1984). An investigation of the relationships among intellectual and creative abilities, extracurricular activities, achievement, and giftedness in a delinquent population. Gifted Child Quarterly, 28, 73-79.

The paper mentions :
This research was supported by the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention, National Institute of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice Grant No. 79JN-AX003

The population of this study was made up of youths who entered the Arapahoe County (Colorado) Juvenile Justice System.

approximately 700 youths became eligible for the study
288 of the 700 eligible youth were screened.
The remaining 412 refused to sign the permission slip or were otherwise not available.
The descriptive results from the sample studied indicate that the youth included in the study appeared to give responses to the tests administered which were within an expected range and thus were considered representative.
All the final analyses were done using the final 114 subjects who completed the full assessment.

tests used for the full assessment included
the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised (1974),
the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (1955) for youth 17 years and older,
the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (TTCT) (1966),
and the Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT) (1978)

Approximately 18% or 48 of 268 of those screened turned out to be gifted in some way. Forty of these 48 youths actually scored in the top 3%, and an additional 26 youths achieved scores which would place them in the top 15% on the measures used.

more youth than would be expected statistically, appeared in this juvenile justice system. Further, several of these youth were just below the gifted cut-off and a sizable proportion scored in the extremely highest category of ability.

the gifted youths in this population differed from their normal counterparts in that they had very high abilities in the area of fluid intelligence and, in most cases, did less well on the achievement test in relation to these high fluid abilities.

Horn (1980) further describes fluid intelligence as being developed through incidental learning, and essentially an intelligence that is not taught or used in school.

The thinking style of these students is often characterized by a nonverbal quick perceptiveness.



Additional sources :

Seeley, K. (1984). Giftedness and delinquency in perspective. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 8, 59-72.

Seeley, K. (2003). High risk gifted learners. In N. Colangelo & G. A. Davis (Eds.), Handbook of gifted education (3rd ed., pp. 444-451). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 05/03/17 10:04 AM

Originally Posted By: Talentdifferent
Hello

As I read MK Streznewsky's book, I was also intrigued by this 20% of inmates who are gifted.

Since less than 20% of the general population is gifted, there is no way that 20% of prison inmates, who have lower IQ on average, are gifted.
Posted by: katee564

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 05/03/17 11:24 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Since less than 20% of the general population is gifted, there is no way that 20% of prison inmates, who have lower IQ on average, are gifted.

If IQ scores in the prison system are not normally distributed, it's certainly plausible that there might be 20% gifted (with at least another peak below the general population mean IQ). I've no idea if this is the case- just sayin'.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 05/03/17 12:04 PM

Thank you, Talentdifferent, for sharing the details on this study.

It seems there was a significant element of self-selection, as eligible inmates elected to take the IQ assessments... or not.

It is interesting that it was determined this self-selected group was representative of the overall incarcerated population... based on "responses within an expected range". To me, this gives the appearance of a study designed to reinforce a foregone conclusion.

As this dates back to 1984, and 33 years have passed, possibly it is time for a new study; one that might include several cities.

Then again, the vast and invasive data collection that we live under may have this information already stored for nearly 100% of the population... including incarcerated persons. It would just be a matter of extracting and reporting.
Posted by: ultramarina

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 05/03/17 03:27 PM

Of interest:

Why super-smart people may be drawn to a life of crime

https://qz.com/923648/why-do-highly-intelligent-people-commit-crimes/
Posted by: indigo

Re: Anyone know what % of prison inmates are GT? - 05/03/17 03:59 PM

Interesting. The book from that article is available on Amazon - Criminal Genius: A Portrait of High-IQ Offenders, by James C. Oleson, September 6, 2016. There is a "Look Inside" feature to allow potential purchasers to sample a few pages of the book.