Institutional Aggression

Topics: Aggression, Prison, Violence Pages: 3 (773 words) Published: January 22, 2014
“Discuss explanations of institutional aggression” (8+16 marks)

Institutional aggression is aggression that occurs within groups or institutions (prisons) or between groups (genocide). Prison statistics within group aggression inside an institution, in 2007 Beck and Harrison estimate 70,000 inmates are victims of sexual violence whilst in prison. In 2010 the League for Penal Reform found that recorded assault incidents rose by 61% between 2000 and 2009. In 2011 there were over 15,000 prisoner on prisoner assaults in UK prisons 1300 were deemed to be ‘serious’.

There are two ‘models’ that have been put forward for institutional aggression, the dispositional model (importation model) which suggests that aggression occurs as a result of individual characteristics that the prisoners brings to the prison. Research support shows Irwin and Cressey (1962) argued that prisoners bring their own social history and characteristics into the prison. (Drugs/alcohol addiction, unemployment, poor education). Mills et al (1998) got 202 inmates newly admitted to a Canadian prison, to take part in a survey using the alcohol dependence scale (ADS) they found that the higher the levels of ‘serious institutional misconduct’ were associated with more severe levels of alcohol dependence, because the study was done in Canada it is Culture biased as it may not be generalised to other cultures.

Harer and Steffensmeier (2006) looked at data from 58 US prisons and found that black inmates had higher rates of violence and lower rates of alcohol and drug related misconduct compared to white inmates. They also found that the individual’s who behaved aggressively outside of prison as part of their culture, were more likely to behave aggressively inside prison. This shows support for the dispositional model as it shows that it is personal characteristics and not institutional characteristics that lead to institutional aggression.

Study against the dispositional model DeLisi et al...
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