Risk Factors for Interpersonal Violence in Prison: Evidence from Longitudinal Administrative Prison Data in Northern Ireland

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Abstract

The present study uses a prospective longitudinal research design to examine whether previously identified risk factors for prison interpersonal violence can predict violent prison misconduct in Northern Ireland. Administrative data drawn from the records of 429 adult males imprisoned on 22 November 2017 were used to predict involvement in violent prison misconduct during a one-year follow-up period. The results revealed that only a small number of previously identified risk factors were found to be significant in the NI context. Nationality, neighborhood deprivation, history of addiction, submission of prison complaints, past involvement in prison misconduct, and number of incarcerations emerged as significant, while religion, head injury/epilepsy, property offences and prison visits were significant at the marginal level. Given the variation in risk factors identified as significant in the NI context compared to previous research, it is argued that cultural context matters when attempting to generalize the risk factors for prison interpersonal violence from one jurisdiction to another. These results offer some support for the importation theory, although it should be noted that the inclusion of prison environmental factors was limited due to the nature of the data. It is argued that specialist services and supports should be provided to address the factors contributing to interpersonal prison violence, including interventions to improve feelings of fairness, identify and treat underlying medical issues and support visitation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Publication statusAccepted - 09 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • Criminology
  • Violent Offenders
  • Cultural Contexts

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