Institutional Aggression


Irwin and Cressey: prisoners are not blank slates, they bring their own social histories in with them

Huff: gang membership is related to violence and other forms of antisocial behaviour, they are disproportionately involved in prison violence, 10x more likely to commit a murder.

The Deprivation Model: aggression is a product of stressful and oppressive conditions, overcrowding, fear and staff experience. New staff are more likely to be violently attacked or suffer an assault.

The Pains of Imprisonment: specific prison deprivation lead to violence such as, loss of liberty, autonomy and security. These increase anxiety and lead to seclusion or rebelling via violence.

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- murder of 6 million Jewish people by Nazis in WWII.

- murder of 800000 Tutsi in Rwanda by Hutu extremists

Staub: 5 stages in the process of genocide- 1, difficult social conditions leading to... 2, scapegoating of a less powerful group leading to... 3, negative evaluation and dehumanization of the target group leading to... 4, moral rules becoming inapplicable so killing begins... 5, passivity of bystanders enhances process.

Pilgrim: obedience to authority, electric shock experiments and links to Nazism.

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Prisons Evidence and Evaluation

Importation Model- individual factors, blacks are more likely to commit violence BUT have lower rates of drug and alcohol related misconduct than whites. These parallel society in the US.

Gang Membership- pre prison gang membership can predict prison violence claim is challenged, inmates who were in gangs are no more likely to be violent. HOWEVER, gang members tend to be isolated from the main prison population which restricts opportunity for violence.

Deprivation Model- overcrowding, lack of privacy and lack of meaningful activity significantly increase violence levels.

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Genocide Evidence and Evaluation

Bystanders- does not end aggression, intervention by outside agencies can also lead to the perpetrators stepping up the violence

Dehumanization- explains violence against immigrants as some are seen as polluting social order.

Obedience- rejection of Milgrim because there are many other explanations of the atrocities such as deep rooted anti-Semitism.

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Real World Application

HM Woodhill (1990s):

-Wilson reasoned that violence occurs in hot, noisy and overcrowded environments

-set up less claustrophobic and prison like units

-changes eradicated violent attacks on staff and other inmates

-BUT political pressure led to units changing, "we cannot have the worst prisoners having the best things"

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