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Home > Arhiva > 2019 > Numar: 1 > Inmate-on-Staff Violence in Romanian Prisons: An Exploratory Analysis in the Context of Prisonisation Processes

 Inmate-on-Staff Violence in Romanian Prisons: An Exploratory Analysis in the Context of Prisonisation Processes

    by:
  • Ioana Morar (University of Bucharest, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences; National Administration of Penitentiaries, Romania, E-mail: ioana.morar@anp.gov.ro)
  • Anamaria Szabo (De Montfort University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Leicester, United Kingdom, E-mail: anamaria.szabo@dmu.ac.uk)

The study of inmate-on-staff violence in Romanian prisons is important for both scientific and more practical reasons. For scientists, Romanian prisons and their dynamics offer an interesting case study because even though many improvements and reforms have been made to the legislation and institutional regulations after the fall of the communist political regime in 1990, the infrastructure of some of the prison units, as well as parts of the staff’s mentalities and attitudes towards how things should be done reflect an era from long ago. As such, the Romanian prison system is still in transition, and matters of order, power and control are still under debate. Inevitably these reverberate into the day-to-day prison life and many times come out in the form of violence, be it verbal, physical or a combination of the two. At practical level, knowing the dynamics of inmate-on-staff violence can help the prison administration devise strategies to prevent it or to diminish its consequences. For the purpose of this paper we look at two independent datasets: the first includes quantitative data on 131 inmate-on-staff violent incidents perpetrated by 109 inmates and recorded in the period 2013-2014 in 39 prison units from all parts of Romania; the second includes qualitative data from 11 face-to-face individual interviews with male adult inmates conducted in 2010 in Jilava prison in the Southern part of Romania. The first dataset explores general dynamics of inmate-on-staff prison violence, while the second explores how inmates adjust to life in prison in the context of prisonisation processes, and is added into the analysis to offer readers an interpretivist lens on how violence in prison is perceived by inmates. Even though the study has not offered a predictability model for this type of violence, it depicts an image of who the perpetrators are and when, why and how violent acts against prison staff occur, which in turn can be used to build preventative strategies at the level of prison units.

Keywords: violent behaviour, prison violence, inmate-on-staff prison violence, verbal violence, physical violence, prison regimes, reoffending, recidivism, prisonisation, deculturation, enculturation, prison subculture, deprivation model, importation model, Romania