A* model answer for institutional aggression



Institutional aggression (for example jobs and care homes) associates with hostile aggression, which is emotive aggression caused by the need to vent anger or frustration.

One explanation is the importational model. This is a dispositional model in which prisoners bring their social histories and traits with them into prison, and this influences their behaviour. They believe that the behaviour they display in prison is the same behaviour displayed by individuals in normal society. Irwin and Cressey identified the importance of subcultures and placed them into 3 groups:

- Criminal subculture: These inmates follow the  norms theyve developed in their career in crime, such as trusting and not betraying fellow inmates.

- Convict subculture: These inmates were raised in the prison system who seek positions of power and influence. These are more likely to turn to aggression, and are influenced by deprivation prior to imprisonment.

- Conventional or 'straight' subculture: these tend to be on-time offenders who were not part of a subculture before entering prison. They reject other subcultures, identify more with prison staff and are the least likely to become aggressive.

These subcultures demonstrate what group a prisoner will join and whether they will turn to aggression or not.

To support this explanation, research from Mills et al surveyed 202 inmates newly admitted to a Canadian prison. Using the alcohol dependance scale, they found higher levels of aggression were associated with alcohol dependance. The findings support the idea that prisoners bring their own personal problems with them into prison.

To evaluate the study, it is culture bias as it was conducted in Canada, therefore we cannot generalise the results to explain institutional aggression across all cultures. In some cultures, such as Saudi Arabia, it is illegal to drink, therefore this study will not support prison violence in that culture. Therefore this only offers partial support for the importation model and does not explain universal characteristics of institutional aggression across all cultures.

To further evaluate, this was a self report method where there could have been social desirability in which the prisoner would lie about their previous alcohol abuse to place themselves in the best possible light and blame their aggression on alcohol and not themselves. This lowers the internal validity of the experiment and…


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