The Effects of an Environmental Intervention on Racial Polarization in a Youth Training School
The effects of a shift from sociofugal to sociopetal (Osmond, 1957) furniture arrangements on racial polarization in a youth training school were assessed through a quasi field-experiment. The occupants of a control and an experimental dayroom were observed over repeated measurement periods for one month before and one month after the furniture rearrangement. Results provided partial support for the major hypotheses, indicating that within the experimental dayroom, levels of positive interracial contact and favorable evaluations of staff increased while, at the same time, disruptive behavior increased and levels of overt aggression, racial polarization (spatial), ratings of general satisfaction and of fellow inmates remained unchanged. The implications of these findings for future interventions in correctional settings are discussed.