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Type, Source, and Patterns of Physical Victimization: A Comparison of Male and Female Inmates

NCJ Number
Prison Journal Volume: 89 Issue: 2 Dated: June 2009 Pages: 172-191
Nancy Wolff; Jing Shi
Date Published
June 2009
20 pages
This study explored inmate victimization in prison.
Results found physical victimization prevalent in male and female prisons. Roughly one third of male inmates and a quarter of female inmates reported experiencing physical victimization within a 6-month period. The most common form of victimization between inmates is theft, followed by being threatened or harmed with a shank (males) and being slapped, hit, kicked, or bit (females). Theft is also the most common form of staff-on-inmate victimization and the type of victimization that was often most bothersome for those experiencing multiple types of victimization. Most inmates did not report experiences of victimization to the authorities, although the likelihood of reporting increased if the perpetrator was a staff person or if the incident involved being beaten up. Female inmates were more likely to report victimization to the authorities than their male counterparts. The majority of people who reported being victimized experienced more than one type of victimization in the 6-month period. Roughly 1 in 5 male and female inmates experiencing physical victimization reported 3 or more types of victimization and 1 and 10 male inmates reported 5 or more types of victimization. Males who experienced five or more types of victimization experienced serious physical assault, which included being beaten up and threatened or harmed with a shank. Staff-on-inmate victimization in female facilities was more prevalent than inmate-on-inmate physical victimization in male facilities. Data were collected from 6,964 men and 564 women from general population prisons. Tables and references


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