Serious Incidence of Inmate on Staff Violence: An Analysis of Individual Mental Health and Demographic Variables

Sean P. Rosenmerkel, Federal Bureau of Prisons
Phil Magaletta, Federal Bureau of Prisons
Sarah Daoust, Dartmouth College
Matt Stanford, University of New Orleans

As the rate of incarceration continues to climb, the potential for inmate violence remains a major concern for most prison staff. This is particularly true when the staff themselves become the focus of an assault. How one best educates staff about high assault risk inmates, acts or events and the interventions employed to prevent such assault are predicated upon our ability to document and study previous incidents. Using archival data from the Federal Bureau of Prisons a data base reflecting three separate information sources on staff assaults from 2001 was constructed. This data base was unique in that it allowed an examination of individual mental health, disciplinary, demographic and incident variables to be examined simultaneously. Using anecdotal information, there appears to be a strong relationship between acting out that is described as self-mutilation, and subsequent acts of violence that often involve staff. This is one of the relationships that we will be examining statistically using this data set. Implications for future research, mental health assessments for level of inmate supervision and care, and staff training will all be drawn out.

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Updated 05/20/2006