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The prevalence of violence in prisons is a significant debate within the consideration of safety in prisons, and attempts towards ensuring safer prisons must capture this. Discussing the various forms of violence is also important when fulfilling the intention of the correctional institutions in the country. A state of violence in a correctional facility hampers the efficiency of operations such as punishments, rehabilitating inmates, and neutralizations. This discussion attempts to assess the various forms of violence within these environments across the inmates and staff through both theoretical and practical considerations. It also captures the possibilities that result from each form of violence between these parties, within which standpoints and opinions can be formed. Prison violence associating inmates and staff is to be analyzed on several levels of age, race, and gender, where each aspect is a factor contributing to the degree of violence that can be expressed across these two groups. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]

Genuine concern about the prison violence emanating from staff towards inmates is based on the assumed power that the correctional officers possess. The emergence of such violence may be due to negligence by senior officials, or the excessiveness of force applied in the control of the prison populace. According to the arguments presented by Ugelvik (2013), the use of violence may not correspond to the common social factors contributing to violence, since the closed environment increases the physical factors and increases the level of agitation that the staff experiences. This results in an increase in the possibility of agitated and pressured personnel who are predisposed to meting out the excessive force that may translate to the rough handling of employees. In this regard, it is possible for the prisoners to be exposed to wardens who are aggressive, threatening, and injurious to inmates (Schenk & Fremouw, 2012). The crimes, in this case, may not be reported to the higher management, and this allows for the repetition and possible increase in the level of violence that is exerted.  [Click Essay Writer to order your essay]

Infractions against staff can be considered based on the degree of interaction achieved between these persons and the inmates, and the nature of such interactions. The standard of ethical treatment of prisoners (including violence against inmates) may act as a factor that promotes or dissipates violent tendencies for rebellion or resistance to staff (Schenk & Fremouw, 2012). The responses that an inmate population has towards its wardens are based on the climate of the relative security for each prisoner. These can be modified by the interactions within prisoner-warden programs such as supervision of duties, social events, and prohibited exchanges. All these participations facilitate the formation of relationships between guards and prisoners, either on a positive or detrimental level. The ability of prison management to handle their employees concerning their relations towards the inmates can dictate the emergence of conflict between sections of the prison population against a particular staff member (Ugelvik, 2013). These relationships should, therefore, be kept on a professional level, and the supervision of such employees to ensure observation of officially accepted conduct.

Offenders in these cases may be agitated by the social environment in similar measure, and this may be triggered by initial cases of violence against prisoners. All cases of employees attacked by prisoners are arguably related to a social transgression of the official, within which prisoners feel agitated to the level of turning against prison workers (Ugelvik, 2013). This also commonly results in the emergence of tension between employees and the prisoners, and can lead to subsequent reactions from either side. Aggression from offenders may be handled more swiftly with prosecutions and disciplinary measures compared to violence against inmates. The most significant aspect of the social characteristic of these forms of violence is their ability to trigger further violent attack.

Violence by the inmates among each other commonly occurs within containment cells and in yards, where the variations in intensity and type often depend on internal factors. The violence may include sexual abuse among inmates, especially within their cells. The research into the statistical prevalence of such violence is limited, especially outside state-owned prisons. The brutality of a criminal environment can be assumed to be hinged on the management within jail and the social temperatures within a prison (due to handling, management policies and conditions) (Wooldredge & Steiner, 2012). The violence that results in homicides within prison walls is considerably the most intense and occurs where the management is unable to control the inmates, and the escalation of violence is either not detected or ignored. The consideration of social constructs within a prison, based on theoretical understanding of criminal psychology, can allow for the formulation of reasons for these cases (Wooldredge & Steiner, 2012). It is also possible to associate prisoner suicides with this form of violence since the prevalence of deaths can be linked to the unsuitable constitution of the inmate population.

The significance of the ratio of races including African-American and Hispanics versus Whites is significant towards the escalation of tension. The racial disparities facilitate the increasing of ethnic-based hate between racially classified criminal groups, and this forms a basis for the emergence of violence within these race groups against each other to facilitate interests of the prisoners or the wardens (Ugelvik, 2013). Ugelvik (2013) further writes that racial hatred within prisons is significant where the numbers of one race pose a threat to the other race, and the presence of illicit activity can be used to escalate tension and trigger violent attacks. Sexual violence may not be significantly related to racial alignment, but the result of such assault on one race functions similarly towards unleashing vicious attacks and aggression.

Conversely, the size of the institution and aspects of the level of security employed towards enforcement of laws are contributory factors and play significantly towards the relationships between the prisoners. The interactions between prisoners and the programs, with the involvement of the wardens, is significant towards lessening violence in large institutions. Prisons with large populations and less dense security personnel are more prone to violent circumstances, since the inmate interact, and the factors facilitating aggression have the opportunity to grow (Wooldredge & Steiner, 2012). These aspects, including the presence of gangs, contraband, or corruption agitate the prisoners, consequently making possible aspects that lead to violence to become potential threats. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]

In conclusion, the prevalence of prison violence depends on various dynamically acting factors, and the ability of a prison management to regulate these aspects affects the occurrence of violence. The possibility of the emergence of an event of violence, therefore, depends on the capacity of the prison administration towards containing their security and handling a suitable population of balanced prisoners. Facilitation of the process of creating ideal prisoner management protocols requires the optimization of the ratios of prisoner population and its comparison to the number of staff. It is also necessary to institute suitable measures to reduce the presence of contraband within the inmate population, which may be used in the escalation of conflicts. Since it is apparent that the presence of prohibited items and interactions between the inmates and the staff is significant, it is necessary for the management to ensure professional and ethical handling of prisoners. In the overall sense, violence can be reduced or avoided through viable means within social control.


Schenk, A. & Fremouw, W. (2012). Individual characteristics related to prison violence: A critical review of the literature. Aggression and Violent Behavior17(5), 430-442.

Ugelvik, T. (2013). Enforcing the convict code: Violence and prison culture. Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews42(5), 753-755.

Wooldredge, J. & Steiner, B. (2012). Race group differences in prison victimization experiences. Journal of Criminal Justice40(5), 358-369.

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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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