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Bullying in Prison

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    Studies have also found group cell housing to contribute to rising interpersonal violence. (O’Donnell & Edgar, 1996). Whilst Wright found no significant links between privacy and inmate misconduct, overcrowding contributes to other adverse conditions like competition for resources (Allison & Ireland, 2009) and can indirectly contribute to increased bullying behaviors. (Gases, 1994; Rubric & Carr, 1993). Gilbert’s Biophysically model also points to the fact that ‘conflicts are more likely to occur when subordinate animals cannot space themselves’. Gilbert, 2005) By developing smaller, well spaced quarters, even within larger prisons, opportunities for conflict could reduce. Safety: A major factor of prison safety is level and quality of supervision. Whilst increasing staffing levels may be economically unfeasible, measures that prevent prisoners exploiting gaps in supervision could reduce pre-meditated violence, by reducing the ‘effect danger ratio’ (Visitors, 1994), making it less rewarding to engage in bullying behaviors.

    Improving safety could involve implementing randomized staff patrols, reducing routine unobserved periods for prisoners to take advantage of. (learned, 2006) Routine Activity Theory ( Clarke & Felon, 1993) suggests crime is more likely to occur where routine activities exist particularly if these are unsupervised. Relationally, Some unsupervised, routine prison activities like showering have become known as unsafe situations where bullying occurs. (Allison & Ireland, 2009.

    However, increasing supervision could decrease feelings of freedom and autonomy. Libeling speculates that whilst increased supervision reduces incidents of pre- meditated violence, it can also increase cases of spontaneous frustrated aggression (Libeling 2012). Bottoms (1999) also notes that routines within prison provide a sense of stability, order and consequently safety, which Ireland argues supports a complex ink between supervision and levels of aggression (Ireland, 2005).

    To reduce bullying in prison, less predictable supervision structures may increase feelings of safety, as long as inmate autonomy and freedom is carefully maintained. Activity: Reflects studies link a lack of activity based and social stimulation to both aggression and bullying within secure settings (Shepherd and Lavender, 1999 and Bidden, 1975 & McGraw & McDougall, 1991). In a review of prison interventions, Home and Thompson(ref, year) concluded that academic and vocational programmer could reasonably confidently predict a reduction in violence.

    Unfortunately out of 119 prisons, only 22 inspected currently have enough activity places for the population (Prisons Inspectorate annual report 2013/14) and only 17% of adult male prisoners spend more than 10 hours out of their cells on weekdays (HIM Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales Annual Report 2013-14) . An aspect of prison environment implicit in each example is the extent to which prisoners are held individually accountable and differentiated from peers.

    It was noted that smaller prisons reported less misconduct and one explanation may be that on an interpersonal level, inmates have less opportunity to diffuse responsibility amongst others. Worldly suggests small or subdivided prisons can reduce anonymity. (Worldly, 2002 ( in Home&Thomspon) This chimes at a group level with Ireland’s Interaction model, which suggests that high levels of anonymity and a transient population create low levels of attachment amongst prisoners and fewer opportunities for positive social communities and values to emerge. (Ireland 2006).

    A core assumption made in these interventions is that environmental changes can facilitate cognitive or behavioral change. It is assumed that by reducing bullying opportunities, actual bullying will decrease and the frustration that may motivate bullying behaviors can be dispersed through other purposeful activity. However, interactions between prisoner and environment are not always straightforward and environmental factors can interact in unexpected and confounding ways, ( e. G. Libeling assertion that increasing supervision could increase aggression).

    In particular, interpersonal and group issues such as mental illness or bullying between staff and prisoners, may not improve solely via structural change. 2. Diversity and Conflict resolution: Educating staff and prisoners “It needs to be drummed into way head from the start” (Inmate, Hardly YOU – (Smith, Pendleton, Mitchell) Edgar(2006) suggests that prisons encapsulate a ‘violence prone social environment’, which has become normal . The ‘inmate’ code (Title, 1969) is an unwritten yet dominant social norm, which facilitates bullying behaviors.

    It includes no backing down from conflict, ‘anti-grassing cultures’ (Smith, Pendleton, Mitchell)and using violence to protect oneself, which pertains to the Subculture of Violence theory(Wolfgang and Affricate, 1967); that retain values supporting the use of aggression become assimilated into the prisoner subculture through a process of appropriations (Claimer, 1940) (South & Wood 2006) South (2006) suggests it is those ‘provisioned attitudes’ that facilitate cognitive distortions, like moral disengagement and embed bullying in the prison ethos.

    Edgar further argues that exacerbating factors are the lack of formal methods for prisoners to solve conflicts and that prisoners are unaware of the ‘cycle of violence’, in that those who assault others are more likely to be assaulted (Edgar, 2006). Libeling (2012) also suggests that changing prisoner demographics are increasing staff anxiety over discriminatory practice and reducing their sense of authority.

    The MOOS (2011) noted a ” lack of professional confidence among staff, particularly in reaction to Muslim Gallants theoretical paradigm of institutionalized conflict resolution, prison conflict resolution needs to be carried out at both an intra and inter system levels (Gulling, 1965), which indicates that whole community attitudes to violence and bullying need to be addressed, including amongst prisoners and staff. Randal(1997) further argues hat it is fear of repeated aggression that characterizes bullying, not the actual incidence.

    According to Ireland’s (2005) applied fear response model, fear influences victims’ responses to aggression and an aggressive reaction can represent both flight and fight, leading to the development of the bully/victim (Ireland, 2006). Staff can also engage in bullying behavior intentional or unintentional e. G. Excessive restraint of prisoners (ref). Solutions Changing Staff and Prisoner Practices and Increasing Awareness A mandatory, integrated educational programmer should be implemented, which includes both Taft and prisoners as instructors.

    This should operate on three levels: to challenge promised attitudes to bullying and promote effective, formal methods of conflict resolution; to break down group formations and establish ‘community focused behaviors’ (Ireland – Toll) and to combat staff and prisoner uncertainty and ignorance in relation to the changing faith, ethnic and other demographics in the prison which can be a barrier to effective staff-inmate relationships and an important factor in preventing bullying and visitation (O’Donnell 1998).

    Increasing the inference of staff in handling diversity is also step towards restoring a productive relationship between staff and prisoner groups. For example. Edgar(2006) also concludes that staff prisoner dialogues have shown improvements in conflict resolution. Peer engaged assertiveness training The programmer should consider further incorporating assertiveness training for all prisoners. Sessions could also be peer [staff led. Beck, 6. 1992) recommends assertiveness training for prisoners, and Ireland (Bibb) goes further to suggest assertiveness training could indicate when it is appropriate to be assertive when confronted with bullying. However, it is important to note individual differences. Ireland, (Bibb), found bullies to be more assertive, but victims less assertive and hypothesis that passivity could be a form of risk aversion to serious harm. Education of the whole prison community prison could help prevent differences in assertiveness deepening and challenge the symmetrical bully victim relationships.

    However, the fact that assertiveness can be hard to define (Ireland, 2002) and that moral disengagement can be more pronounced in pure bully’s who have often started their sentences very young(South 2006 ) means that working with certain individuals therapeutically to facilitate cognitive behavior change could be more effective. (Miller, 1996). The effectiveness of an integrated, educational approach to tackling bullying is noted in an inspection report of HEMP Releasers. Perpetrators were managed on an individual level – using daily monitoring, challenged about their behavior and completed anti-social behavior workbooks.

    Interpersonally – Peer supporters and Toe by Toe (a prisoner literacy scheme) mentors helped prisoners to complete the workbooks. Victims were supported by staff, Listeners and peer supporters. Prisoners could report safer custody concerns through a separate confidential reporting system, (HIM Chief Inspector of Prisons, 2013) which in theory Autonomy and interpersonal support In South’s (2006) study exploring ‘appropriations’, a positive correlation between perceived value of social status and involvement in bullying incidents was found.

    Furthermore, according the Deprivation hypothesis(Sykes, 1958), bullying can be linked to a scarcity of resources and a quest for status as a means for ‘inter-personal’ survival. (O’Donnell, 1998) . To an extent this intervention subscribes to that theory, UT also incorporates the importation hypothesis (Irwin and Crosses, 1962), that individuals import aggression into the institution and Differential Association Theory (Sutherland, 1992), which suggests anti-social skills can be learned from others.

    The intervention proposes increasing opportunities for prisoners to obtain positive status, provide social support and improve personal outcomes through an extension of the Listener Programmer to specifically tackle bullying behaviors. The Listener scheme is a peer support programmer established by the Samaritan in 1991 for prisoners in distress and at risk of suicide. Listener Schemes are common throughout the country alongside other initiatives, such as the Insider scheme (Booth, 2011) a specific programmer designed for prisoners to mentor new inmates.

    In Perrine and Bladder’s (2014) evaluation of the impact of working as a Listener, two main themes emerged: ‘Personal Transformation’ and ‘Countering Negative Prison Emotions’, which chimes with both the importation and deprivation hypotheses. This intervention also applies on an intra/inter-personal level, both psychedelically: enabling prisoners to engage and support one another emotionally; and cognitively, encouraging prisoners o teach others methods for handling conflict without violence, which complements the educational intervention outlined above.

    Where 5/10 years ago, the only way I knew was to be violent. You learn different ways don’t you. It’s Just the same as when you learn to speak and talk to a person. Get to know a person before you Judge and things like that. That’s what listening does. ” (Prisoner interview – Perrine and Blended, 2014) Applying Differential Association Theory, Booth (2011) suggests that in the same way individuals learn to offend from those able to teach the required skills, ere supporters canoodle other offenders ‘change their offending lifestyles’.

    She concludes that peer support programmer, like the Listener and Insider shames are important resources within the prison system and contribute to prisoners’0 rehabilitation. At a group level Wright et al (1986) found that the extent to which bullying is accepted, relies on social structure and the values and practices of a community (Gilbert, 2005), which can be influenced by those in status roles . The Bullying-listener scheme could be extended to provide opportunities for listeners to sit on prison councils.

    A recent Prison Reform Trust study found that prison councils reduced conflict (Solomon & Edgar 2004). This also attempts to address the lack of formal methods for prisoners to solve conflicts identified by Edgar (2006) The Listener scheme relates theoretically to humanist models, such as the Good Lives Model (Ward & Stewart, 2003) of offender rehabilitation and Perrine & Blended, (2014) discuss how the ‘goods’ achieved from proboscis behavior motivate offenders to make an active “decision to try to desist” and help them to think differently about themselves as they receive positive reinforcement from others.

    Farrell et al, 2010) In general, skills developed in peer support roles have been linked with successful reintegration quarter of prisoners said they had spoken to Listeners about issues other than suicide, including bullying: We got a lad on here, who when he first came on here was struggling a little bit and he was asking for a Listener… The prisoner was actually getting bullied, and this Listener, because he is well respected by other lad – which makes a big difference – he was able to … Approach the lads that were bullying [the prisoner], and nipped it in the bud… And] the bullying stopped. Prison officer, Residential wing, Prison 4) Gaffe, 2012) Actively Incorporating anti-bullying measures into the Listener Scheme could mean that vulnerable prisoners, such as those with mental illnesses could be reached indirectly, as well as bully/victims. Conclusion These solutions aim to address the culture of bullying in prisons and provide accessible methods for prisoners to support others, resolve conflict and stay safe, addressing both ‘imported’ behaviors and ‘depriving’ environmental factors.

    However, lack of funding, continued overcrowding and reduced staffing levels can all MIT the success of bullying interventions. (Ireland Bullying Among Prisoners: Evidence Research and Intervention Strategies) A general lack of empirical evidence for the success of solutions may also make it difficult to initiate projects. (learned, 2006) It should also be noted that bullying can be “under-reported in prisons, with prisoners failing to acknowledge their aggression as ‘bullying”‘ (Ireland, 2010, Ireland and Ireland 2003, ) and staff only becoming aware of bullying once it becomes violent (Edgar 2006).

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