Violent Risk Assessment United States Prisons

Violence Risk Assessment

The United States prison is one of the largest in the world. The rate of mental illness among the incarcerated offenders is disproportionately represented, with over 50% of the prisoners having mental illness, compared to the 11% of the general population (Hoke, 2015). The increased risk to violence among the incarcerated population is associated with a number of factors.

Factors Associated with Violence Risk among the Incarcerated Offenders

According to (Arbach-Lucioni, Martinez-Garcia, & Andres-Pueyo, 2012), the prison environment offers a number of limitations to an offender as opposed to the outside environment. The presence of these limitations creates a close environment, which may be a source of psychological stresses. The author asserts that many studies have shown a positive correlation between the prison psychological stress and the risk to violence among the incarcerated offenders. Moreover, the closeness to other offenders may create an environment where other prisoners are coerced into interactions and relationships that may alter their self needs.

The other factor that is associated with violence risks among the incarcerated offenders is the poor prison management. There are three major models of control of prisoners, the control, consensual and responsibility models. The control model is based on strict rules and guidelines to be followed by prisoners, while the responsibility model gives prisoners some autonomy with minimum control. The consensual model is a combination of the two. The prison management that uses the consensual and responsibility model has been shown to produce lower forms of disorder and violence compared to the control model.

The other factor in the correctional facility that is associated with violence risks among the incarcerated offenders is the staff culture of contempt of administration of justice. Most of the correctional staff feels they are above the law and have very little regard to the criminal justice department statutory provisions. Moreover, a staff culture that views the prisoners as dangerous subjects to be controlled will more likely to exasperate violence. Other factors include overcrowding in prisons which increase prevalence to injury; some architectural designs can also lead to violence among the prisoners.

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