Week 8 CheckPoint: Violent Behavior Response

Submitted by Travis Hance

Write a 200- to 300-word response in which you describe some of the reasons for violent behavior in prisons. Include the following components:

1) Violent behavior among prisoners Violence within the prison population is often the result of both racial, gang, and local social interactive problems. Inmates attempting to establish a chain of authority can often use violence as a means to bring both new and established inmates into line. There is a subculture within prison societies that expect inmates to be tough, which is bolstered by the concept that displaying strength is the only way to survive. There are a number of methods to deal with such violence from a law enforcement standpoint. One of the more effective systems has been AIMS. AIMS stands for Adult Internal Management System, and is designed to categorize inmates based on their personality and sentence. By examining terms of sentencing, personality type, how well the inmate follows staff directions, and how aggressive they are towards others.

2) Violent behavior between inmates and staff

One method of reducing problems with interaction between inmates and staff is the direct supervision concept. This method of imprisonment removes many of the traditional barriers that are associated with confinement. By promoting interpersonal relationships between inmates and prison staff, it has been shown to directly reduce violent incidents, as well as promoting a more general feeling of wellbeing.

3) Strategies for responding to violent behavior Some prison strategies that have been developed for dealing with violence have included seclusion and segregation. The idea of separating inmates who could potentially cause problems is a method of direct action that can be extremely effective. The drawback is the considerable amount of manpower and time that such methods incur. As previously mentioned, direct supervision facilities have also proven to reduce violent behavior. Finally, many prison officials work to improve the internal conditions for the inmates by providing educational programs, fitness facilities, and more.

4) How violent behavior affects incarceration length Violent behavior is shown to be an extremely effective motivator. Unfortunately, the length of the sentence has been shown through numerous

studies to have little impact on those with truly violent personalities. There are many programs in place to try to instill useful skills, and yet it is unfortunate that there is a high rate of recidivism among those inmates who are determined criminals. Prison staff and officials report on inmate behavior, and violence within the prison system results in extension of sentences and negation of parole possibilities. The problem is that such inmates do not wish to conform to societal norms, and while they may try to do so for a time, the temptation to revert back to violence and crime is often too tempting. Hopefully as psychologists continue to pursue new methods of treatment, new ways will be found to help inmates with violent tendencies overcome their problems and rejoin society.