Patterns of victimization and feelings of safety inside prison: The experience of male and female inmates

Nancy Wolff, Jing Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

Little is known about the patterns of sexual victimization inside prisons and their relationship to inmates' feelings of safety. This study examined patterns of sexual victimization with and without co-occurring physical victimization and feelings of safety as reported by 6,964 male and 564 female inmates. Respondents completed a computerized survey with questions about type of victimization (sexual/physical) and source of victimization (inmate/staff). Compared to sexual assault, inappropriate sexual touching was more common, especially among female inmates (22% versus 4%), whereas sexual assault was relatively less common for male and female inmates (< 2%). Sexual victimization often involved one to three types of sexually inappropriately behavior. Victimization perpetrated by staff was more frequently reported by male inmates. Most inmates, independent of gender and sexual victimization, reported feeling safe inside prison. Inmates who felt the most unsafe reported sexual victimization by staff or concurrent sexual and physical victimization (n = 150).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-55
Number of pages27
JournalCrime and Delinquency
Volume57
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

Keywords

  • feeling safe
  • gender
  • physical victimization
  • prison inmates
  • sexual victimization

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