Inmate-on-Inmate Victimization Reported by Older Male Prisoners

John J. Kerbs, Florida State University

As of 1/1/2000, federal and state prisons housed more than 103,000 older prisoners (OPs) in the US. Although OPs represent the fastest growing age-group in prison, little is known about their safety and victimization. This paper examines inmate-on-inmate victimization (IIV) among male OPs by: 1) documenting rates of psychological, property, physical, and sexual IIV; 2) exploring narrative descriptions for these four types of IIV; and 3) examining OPs suggested prevention policies for IIV. Data came from 109 male OPs (50 years of age and older) serving time in a state-wide prison system. Of the 109 OPs, 65 were randomly selected and 44 were purposively sampled. Face-to-face interviews elicited answers for open-ended and fixed-choice questions. All IIV rates and associated confidence intervals were calculated for randomly sampled OPs (N=65). Narrative descriptions came from content analyses of transcripts from the full sample (N=109). The findings indicated that about 55.4% of OPs reported psychological IIV, 44.6% reported property IIV, 15.4% reported physical IIV, and 10.8% reported sexual IIV. Content analyses suggested that OPs are often victimized by younger prisoners and that a majority of OPs support the use of age-segregated living arrangements to prevent IIV among OPs. In sum, the findings show that IIV among OPs is a legitimate problem, worthy of prevention programs such as age-segregation for Ops.

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Updated 05/20/2006