Prison Violence

Prison violence is something that has been an ongoing problem and can be seen in many different forms. It happens in men, woman and juvenile facilities. The level of violence and severity can differ but it is all categorized as prison violence and has become an increasingly major issue on the U.S. It is safe to say people tend to believe males are more prone to violence making violence in male prisons have higher rates than female prisons. Some research indicates women prisoners, unlike men prisoners, do not engage in physical violence (Trammell 2009). They engage in relational violence which is like gossiping and spreading rumors to make each other feel isolated and outcast. Another type is sexual violence such as assault/rape/harassment experiences reported by both male and female prisoners. Male sexual violence involves more force due to the fact of strength and more aggressiveness which is male nature. Male prisoners are subjected to more physical injury and have more excessive force used on them so in return the level of aggressiveness is heightened. This is a main factor as to why they try to stop being victims and become the perpetrators and also why violence rates are higher in male prisons.

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The third issue that contributes in the understanding which gender has higher violent rates in prison is prisoner confrontations and the search for respect. From all of the factors this factor is very unique because it deals with the physiological part of violence. Furthermore, this issue is very important because it shows that physical straight is not the only thing that contributes to violence in prisons, but the psychological factor has a lot to do with it as well. Research has found that prisoners engage in violence for varies reason. I addition, prisoners who have a positive and a stable social interaction tend to engage the least in fights. On the other hand those who have weak and problematic social interaction have more fights with others prisoners (Butler, 2008). In addition, Butler (2008) pointed out found that prisoners that engage in act violence tent to think they have to prove their masculinity by showing their aggression. Furthermore, these types of prisoners have the psychological need to defend this identity.

Theses prisoners will react taught when they feel that they are being ostracized, embarrassed, or disrespected. This issue relates to the topic because depending how the inmates feels, the rate of violence can go up or it can come down. The Butler (2008) study presented reasons as to why do male prisoners are violent in prison. In contract it illustrated what are some of the reason why might male prisons have more violent rates than female prisons.

Victimization rates

Research done by Wolff, Blitz, Shi and Siegel (2006) found that similar information to other studies. They point out that inmate on inmate sexual victimizations were higher in women prisons than men prisons during the first 6 months of research. Furthermore, nonsensical sexual acts (e.g. forced sex acts) were not as common as abusive sexual contact (e.g. intentional touching), between prisons and staff in the correctional facility. In addition, the scholars point out that depending on the rates of victimization that is how violent the inmate will become. It all depends on which gender is being victimized. In this study the prison staff was victimizing the males.


All of the articles I used to answer the research question had similar founding’s. In addition, all of the empirical articles I found contributed to finding an answer to my research question, which made the date very applicable. However, there were differences and similarities between literatures. Some of the similarities were that most of the articles used a larger size sample of the male prisoners than for the female prisoners in their research. However, with the exception of Trammell (2008) study since it only dealt with female prisoners. Another similarity I found was between Wolff, Shi, and Siegel (2009) and Wolff, Shi, and Bachman (2009) both of these study used the same sample size, 12 adult correctional facilities and one female adult correctional facility. In addition, both studies collected their data in the same state. Furthermore, both study used the same method of research, which was using the Administered Survey Instruction (CASI) to collect their data. Furthermore, the other empirical literature I used anonymous written assessments, interviews and self-narratives to gain their data (Butler, 2008)

Relationship to research

All of the scholarly articles I used for this paper were related to one another. Whether it was in a psychological way, victimization rates, respect in prison, or relational violence. All of these issues tied up nicely to answer the research question. Wolff et all (2006), Wolff et all (2009) and Wolff et al (2008) studies can be put together because they all focused on the rates of victimization in prisons and how it affects the inmates. All of the articles found that depending on the rates of victimization of the behalf of the male and female prisoners, it will show how much aggression the prisoner will engage in. Furthermore, they found that the prison staff victimizes men unlike women; As a consequence the men get in to more fights, which increase the violent rates in male prisons. Research indicates that male inmate have the physiological idea that they need to protect their identity in prison.

As a consequence this leads the prisoners to get into more confrontations with other prisoners and with staff at times. In addition, when male inmates feel that they are being embarrassed or ostracized they will act aggressively. However, female inmates are completely opposite instead of physical altercations they will engage in gossip to hurt each other (Butler, 2008) Trammell (2008) research only was based on women correctional facilities, which made it very unique and significant to my paper. Most of the scholarly articles I found were only based on men prisons, but this study focused only on what type of violence is females more consistent with, which was spreading rumors. The theme that is being discussed in this paper is comparing the violent rates between women and men prisons. However, relational violence is not included in the rate of violence unlike aggression is.

As a result this lowers the rates of violence in the female prisons. Research conducted Johnson and Johnson (2006) compared the sexual coercion experience between male and female prisons. This factor contributes to the violent rates in correctional facilities. The scholars found that depending on how many experiences of sexual coercion the prisoners take part of, the more it leads to violence making him or her perpetrator. This study also found that men are face more violence sexual coercion compared to women. Consequently the rates of violence in male prisons rise up.


All empirical research provided good data analyses that collaborates with the founding’s. In my opinion the most interesting article I found during my research was the study conducted m Johnson and Johnson (2009) because this study point out that sexual coercion is more commend in male prisons rather than female prisons. Before doing the research I always thought it was the other way around. My original thoughts about this information I researched were that it was good information to answer the research question. During my research I was trying to find some variables that can help explain what encourages both male and female prisoners to engage in violence. I concur with most of the empirical information I found. All of the articles had something in commend for example, the number male prisons that took part in the study and/or the sample sizes. In addition, as I kept on reading the literature all of the data found were corroborated.

Furthermore, all of the scholars found similar information such as, male are more aggressive because they have to go through more violent sexual coercion and as a consequence they fight to protect their “masculinity”. Moreover all of the information I found has important key issues that proved that male prisoners have more violent rates than female prisons. As a result, all of the articles contribute in answering the research question. However, what I didn’t like about the empirical articles is that the scholars hardly research female prisons. For example, the scholars would use 12 male prisons and only one female prison to compare their violent rates. In my opinion this is extremely unfair because the researcher collects more data for male inmates and not enough for female inmates. Moreover in order, to have more applicable information there needs to be the same number of male and female prisons studied. What I learn doing this research is that in female prisons rape is very rare.

However, this does not necessary mean that female prisoners do not engage in any sexual activities. Research indicated that instead of actual force penetration, the inmates touch breasts and generals. Furthermore, female prisoners do not get molested buy the staff, but rather by the other prisoners (Trammell, 2009). Moreover what I also learn from this research is that females engage in trash talking and spreading rumors to hurt the other prisoners. Before doing this paper I thought that female inmates engage in physical fights like male inmates, but to my surprise they rather spread rumors. Some female inmates reported that spreading rumors hurt more than actual punches. Furthermore, I learn that female inmates fight over guards. They treat the guarders has their boyfriends this gives them extra privileges such as, better jobs and more food. In addition, if the female seeing other female flirting with her “boyfriend”(guard) she will spread rumors about that female to get her in trouble. (Trammell, 2009)


The topic being discussed in this paper was the rate of violence in male and female prisons. All of the empirical articles that I found contribute in finding the answer to my research question. Furthermore, the main focus of this paper was to report if the rates of violence were higher in male or female prisons and why that was the case. After doing all of the research, I found that men prisons have higher violent rates of violence rather than women prisons. It was proven that a lot of variable contribute to higher rates of violence in men prisons such as males under go more sexual coercion, have high rates of victimization, and they look to gain respect in prison.

Moreover overall the articles regarding this topic were helpful and applicable. In addition, the articles illustrated the variable of why? How? , And when? do prisoners engage in violence and how does this raise the violent rates in the correctional facility. Even though all of the studies were helpful in writing this paper, more research should be performed regarding this topic. There should be more research that only focuses on female inmates. This can give the general public a better understanding on female prisons. In addition, it can inform on what type of violence female inmates engage in with more detail.


I was only allowed to use six empirical articles to answer my research question. In addition, none of my friends or family members has spend time in prison. So I was not able to interview someone that has witness violence while in prison. Furthermore , in all of the literature I found authors focused more in the male prison rather then the female prisons. As a consequence this could off manipulate the data that indicates that male prisoners engage in more violence. I think if the authors would of concentrate in male and female prisons equally the findings would off probably show that the rates of violence for both male and female inmates are somewhat the same.

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