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Monday, May 14, 2007

Article Spotlight: Self-Help as an Explanation for Violence Among Female Inmates

From internetjournalcriminology.com: Saint Louis University CrimProf M. Dyan McGuire recently published Self-Help as an Explanation for Violence Among Female Inmates: A Preliminary Assesment. By M. Dyan McGuire, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, Saint Louis University, USA.

Data were gathered from 52 female inmates residing in two women’s prisons located in Missouri, USA, through semi-structured interviews in order to document the existence of violence among female inmates and to evaluate causes of such violence. Donald Black’s self help theory was used as a paradigm for evaluating causes of violence among female inmates. The results of this study suggest that violence among female inmates is more common than typically assumed.

The results also suggest that Black’s theory may account for the large amount of violence associated with homosexual relationships but is unable to explain the existence of predatory violence aimed at forcibly acquiring property or accomplishing sexual assault. Prison policies including those prohibiting homosexual conduct and the apparent de facto policy of punishing everyone involved in a fight may be unwittingly contributing to the problem of violence among female inmates. Possible reforms that might be helpful are discussed and analyzed. [Mark Godsey]

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