Institutional Aggression

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Institutional Aggression Within Groups: Prisons

  • Recorded assault records rose by 61% between 2000 and 2009. Prisons are dangerous places.
  • The Importation Model
  • Interpersonal Factors
  • Prisoners bring their own social histories and traits into prison, this influences their adaptation. They are not blank slates so that developed on the outside will be carried on the inside.
  • Gang Membership
  • Gang membership are related to violence and antisocial behaviour. 
  • Gang members interact with prison violence.
  • If you were in a gang before prison is an indicator of misconduct. 
  • Street gangs offend more and account for the serious and violent crime. 
  • Gang members in the US were 10x more likely to commit a murder and 3x more likely to assault someone in public.
  • Situational Factors - The 'Deprivation' Model
  • Prisoner or patient aggression is the product of stressful and oppressive conditions of the institution . Including crowding , increasing fear and frustrationand staff experience. 
  • trainee nurses more likely to experience assault.
  • The 'Pains of Imprisonment'
  • Specific deprivations that inmates experience in prison which may be linked to an increase in violence are loss of freedom, loss of autonomy and loss of securtiy. 
  • Threat to personal security increased anxiety levels in inmates. Some may isolate themselves because of this.


  • The Importation Model
  • Recieved support in terms of individual factors like age, education level and race. 
  • Data was collected from 58 prisons finding black inmates had higher rates of violent behaviour but lower rates of alcohol related and drug related misconduct. Racial differences support the importation model.
  • Gang Membership
  • Challenging claim that pre prison gang membership predicts violence in prison. No more likely than other inmates to engage in prison violence. LAck of correlation could be because the


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