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Risk Markers for Sexual Predation and Victimization in Prison

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2009
352 pages
This exploratory research was the first effort to apply empirically validated static and dynamic risk factors for violence to sexual predation and victimization in prisons.
The analytic process resulted in the construction of nine valid conceptual models for predatory, victimized, bartered, and consensual sex in prison, each of which was different for male and female inmates. The models were characterized by good to excellent (.70 to .99) accuracy, with high levels of sensitivity and relatively low levels of specificity. The study found that male inmates engaged in more predatory, bartered, and consensual sex with other inmates; however, these different types of sex were highly related, suggesting that inmates who engage in one type of sex are far more likely to be involved in the other types of sex. These inmates are different in many ways from inmates who adopt a largely asexual stance while incarcerated. Similarly, many of the risk factors for sex in prison have been previously identified as predicting violent behavior in the community. A discussion of the implications of these findings for inmate programming highlight the importance of developing gender-specific programs that address a broad spectrum of behaviors associated with sexual violence. The discussion reflects on the issue of consent as attributed to prison inmates and addresses the importance of boundary training for the correctional staff at risk for sexual involvement with inmates. Emphasis is given to the significance of an informed and consistent approach to sexual behavior in prison. The approach should recognize the interplay between victimization and predation as well as the relationship of different types of sex and aggression to the full continuum of sex that is occurring. The models were developed using a sample of 471 inmates (288 males and 183 females) from two States. Data tables and approximately 460 references
Date Published: December 1, 2009