An Examination of Key Determinants of Violent Victimization, Violent Behavior, and Injury Type in Prison: Is Prison Violence Triggered by Importation or Deprivation?

Date of Submission


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice (Ph.D.)


Criminal Justice


Richard Spano

Committee Member

Shawna Cleary

Committee Member

Mirlinda Ndrecka

Committee Member

Tracy Tamborra

LC Subject Headings

Prison violence, Prisoners--Crimes against

Call No. at the Univ. of New Haven Library

AS36.N290 Crim. Just. 2018 no.1


This study examines determinants of prison victimization and prison violence. Individual and institutional characteristics are described and measured using the Oklahoma Department of Corrections Attachment H reporting form. Attachment H contains data spanning from 7/4/2011 to 6/27/2014, and contains data from 812 incidents that involve 2,108 inmates (2,399 cases). The objectives of the current study, which utilizes data from Oklahoma prisons include: (1) specifying the prevalence of prison violence (violent offending) in Oklahoma prisons, (2), specifying the prevalence of violent victimization in prison, (3) examining the prevalence of the overlap between prison violence and violent victimization, (4) describing the sequencing of victimization and violent offending for inmate-on-inmate violence, and (5) identifying the determinants of prison violence and violent victimization. A two stage analysis plan is presented. In stage one, logistic regression is used to examine the impact of individual characteristics and institutional characteristics on victimization and perpetration of prison violence. Independent variables examined in stage one include type of prison (state or private), gang affiliation, cause of incident, and weapon used in incident. In stage two, logistic regression analysis is used to analyze the dataset of medium and maximum security prisons. Independent variables examined in stage two include number of weapon related offenses, current offense, weapon used in current offense, gang affiliation, criminal history before incarceration, cause of incident (participation in the prison economy), weapon used in incident, and timing of prison violence (date of incarceration and date of incident). Insights from deprivation and importation theories are utilized to explain violent behavior in prison. Findings indicate little support for deprivation and importation as an explanation for prison violence. More specifically, gang affiliation, which is a measure of importation in this study, is a determinant of prison violence in stage one but not in stage two. Key findings include race, age, gang affiliation, and participation in the prison economy as predictors of classification of victim and offender. Key findings about injury type include: race, age, weapon use in incidence, prior convictions, and offense type are predictors of injury type in incidence of prison violence.