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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 211231 
Title: Bullying Among Young Offenders: Findings From a Qualitative Study (From Bullying Among Prisoners: Innovations in Theory and Research, P 62-83, 2005, Jane L. Ireland, ed. -- See NCJ-211227)
Author(s): Alexandra C. Spain
Date Published: 2005
Page Count: 22
Sponsoring Agency: Willan Publishing
Portland, OR 97213-3644
Sale Source: Willan Publishing
c/o ISBS, 5804 N.E. Hassalo Street
Portland, OR 97213-3644
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Book Chapter
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter reports on a qualitative study that examined bullying among young offenders in prison.
Abstract: The study addressed a gap in the literature by using a qualitative methodology to examine perceptions and experiences of bullying among incarcerated youth. Focus groups were used to engage inmates in discussion in a familiar setting. The study involved two young-offender institutions: one that housed male young offenders and one that housed female young offenders. Using opportunity sampling, two focus groups were obtained in each prison. Each group contained between five to eight participants between the ages of 18 and 21. Four main themes emerged from the focus groups: the evolution of bullying in prison, social cohesion, adapting to survive, and diversity and acceptance. The focus groups agreed that if an individual intimidates another knowing the other person is fearful of him/her, then this is an abuse of power and thus bullying. Participants mentioned intimidation as the most common form of bullying. Indirect bullying was most often reported by the females. Participants did not initially acknowledge bullying among inmates, but latter admitted that bullying did occur; however, blame was placed on correctional officers as instigators of arguments and competition among inmates. Negative interactions between prison staff and inmates apparently was viewed by the inmates as disruptive of the overall social cohesion of the prison. Participants also reported that bullying is symptomatic of the prison environment as inmates attempt to cope with the frustration and stress of restricted behaviors and adverse conditions in prison. Bullying was often viewed as an effort to gain social status in an environment that undermines self-esteem. Conflicts among groups outside of prison were also viewed as transferred into prison. 31 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile inmates
Index Term(s): Adjustment to prison; Bullying; Inmate attitudes; Inmate misconduct; Prison climate; Young adult offenders
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