Friday, June 15, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, June 15, 2007


NCJ 218418
Candace Kruttschnitt ; Mike Vuolo
Cultural Context of Women Prisoners' Mental Health: A Comparison of Two Prison Systems
Punishment & Society
Volume 9 Issue:2 Dated: April 2007 Pages:115 to 150

This article compared the experiences of self-harm and suicide ideation of 2,911 female inmates residing in 2 prisons in California and 3 prisons in England. Results indicated significant similarities in the factors predicting self-harm and suicide ideation among female inmates housed in very different types of prisons and political regions. The key risk factors for both self-harm and suicide ideation in both California and England were youthfulness, prior self-harm, and current or prior mental health problems. The findings also revealed that particular prison regimes exerted a significant impact on mental health among inmates. One important finding was the link between women prisoners’ perceived closeness to correctional officers and staff and their risks of self-harm and suicide ideation. Feelings of closeness to correctional staff actually increased a woman’s risk of self-harm and suicide ideation, but only in England. Other findings indicate that in England only, those women with prior commitments have reduced odds of suicide ideation, possibly because they know how to handle prison life and have a network of friends within the prison. The findings suggest that different types of penal regimes have an impact on prisoner life and, as such, postmodern penal policies should be studied from the lived realities of inmates rather than from within the confines of rhetorical packages. The research involved interviews with 2,911 female inmates from 2 prisons in California and 3 prisons in England. The interviews focused on inmates self-reports regarding self-harm behaviors, suicide ideation, and coping and adjustment to prison life. Researchers relied on ANOVA and logistic regression analyses to compare responses of female inmates in California and England. Future research is necessary to understand how penal policy impacts the well-being of prisoners. Tables, figures, appendix, notes, references

NCJ 218432
Nancy Wolff; Cynthia L. Blitz; Jing Shi ; Jane Siegel ; Ronet Bachman
Physical Violence Inside Prisons: Rates of Victimization
Criminal Justice and Behavior
Volume: 34 Issue:5 Dated: May 2007 Pages:588 to 599

This study examined the prevalence rates of inmate-on-inmate and staff-on-inmate physical victimization. The results of this study confirm the stereotype that prisons are violent places. Over a 6-month period, 20 percent of inmates reported experiencing some form of physical violence, measured in terms of being hit, slapped, kicked, bit, choked, beat up, or hit with or threatened with a weapon. The prevalence rates of inmate-on-inmate physical violence in the previous 6-months were equal for males and females. Male inmates had significantly higher rates of physical violence perpetrated by staff than by other inmates. Physical victimization was not uniform across facilities. Small facilities were associated with above average rates of inmate-on-inmate physical violence, but below average rates of staff-on-inmate physical violence. Large facilities were found to be the opposite. The results indicate that the risk of victimization varies significantly across institutional settings, warranting careful attention. Official estimates of physical violence inside prison have grossly underrepresented the level and type of victimization inside prison. No nationally representative surveys have been undertaken to improve on these official estimates of physical victimization inside prisons. This study explored the time served in prison on the index offense and 6-month prevalence of physical victimization within a State prison system, inclusive of both male and female facilities. The study population consisted of all inmates (N = 22,898) housed at 13 adult male prisons and 1 female prison operated by a single mid-Atlantic State. A total of 7,221 males and 564 females aged 18 and older participated in the study. Tables, appendix and references

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