Self-report rates of physical and sexual violence among Spanish inmates by mental illness and gender

Francisco Caravaca Sánchez, Nancy Wolff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Abstract: High rates of mental illnesses and victimization have been reported for prison populations. This study estimates physical and sexual victimization rates (inmate-on-inmate and staff-on-inmate) for people with and without mental illnesses residing in Spanish prisons. A random sample of 2484 male and 225 female inmates was drawn from eight prisons in Spain. Self-report data were collected on victimization, mental illness and sociodemographic characteristics. Prevalence rates of physical and sexual victimization during the past six months in prison among men with mental illnesses were higher than for men without reported mental illnesses (39.1% vs. 16.4% and 8.6% vs. 3.3%, respectively). Similar comparative results were found for women with and without mental illnesses (29.7% vs. 17.5% and 13.3% vs. 10.3%, respectively). A positive association was found between mental illnesses and victimization. This evidence suggests the need for integrated trauma treatment and proactive steps to protect incarcerated persons from violence during incarceration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-458
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 3 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


  • Victimization
  • mental illness
  • prison
  • sexually abusive


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