Outline and evaluate explanations of institutional aggression. (25 marks)
Instituational aggression is aggressive behaviour displayed within an institutional situation such as a school or prison. Most research into institutional aggression has been conducted in prisons.
One explanation of institutionalised aggression is the importation model- dispsotional factors. This model suggests that prisoners bring (import) their own social histories and traits with them to the prison environment and these influence their subsequent behavious (Irwin and Cressey, 1962). Most of the aggressive behaviour studied in the prisson situation is not specific to that situation- the same behaviour was carried out in wider society by the same individuals. Such people bring with them into a prison a "ready-made" way of behaving which they just use in their new institutional setting (Cheeseman, 2003).
Irwin and Cressey realised the importance of different prisoner subcultures and identified three. Firstly; the criminal or theif subculture, the prisoner follow the norms and values that are present in the professional thief or criminal "careers", such as not betraying one another and being trustworthy. Secondly; the convict subculture, the subject has been raised in the prison system. they seek positions of power and influence and are therefore most likley to turn to aggression or another maladaptive form of coping. and the conventional or straight subculture tend to be one-time offenders and were not part of a criminal or theif subculture before entering prison. They reject the other two subcultures and identify more with the prison staff. this group is leats likley to be aggressive.
The three subcultures are better at explaining offenders who do not reoffend then some other explanations of institutional aggression. It suggests we…