skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 221306 Find in a Library
Title: Using the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG) to Predict In-Prison Aggressive Behavior in a Swiss Offender Population
Journal: International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology  Volume:52  Issue:1  Dated:February 2008  Pages:81-89
Author(s): Jerome Endrass; Astrid Rossegger; Andreas Frischknecht; Thomas Noll; Frank Urbaniok
Date Published: February 2008
Page Count: 9
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The study is a first-time evaluation of the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide's (VRAG) predictive quality for institutional violence in a German-speaking country.
Abstract: Results showed only a moderate effect between VRAG scorers and institutional misconduct; however, these findings were only significant for participants with a sex crime as the index offense. Additionally, the VRAG wasn't able to predict verbal and physical violence for violent offenders. Hardly any support can be found for extending the use of the VRAG for prediction of institutional misconduct. Because violent and aggressive behavior in prison is considered to be a constant problem in most penal institutions, there is an ongoing debate concerning the usefulness of actuarial instruments in predicting intramural violence. Acts of violence or aggression not only threatens prison staff and fellow inmates, but also burdens the system with additional costs. An early identification of inmates who tend toward violent or aggressive behavior should be central goals to both protect the staff and other inmates from becoming victims of violent actions, and to lower the overall associated costs of violence within the penal system. Although all the information for rating the VRAG score was solely obtained from file data, the data provided in the records met the criteria for reliable ratings of the instrument in question. The study raised questions about the utility of the VRAG in predicting intramural infractions in the particular population investigated. However, the VRAG might be of some use in predicting verbally aggressive behavior of incarcerated sex offenders in the population investigated, and thus contribute to some degree to the safety of both prison staff and inmates. The sample included 106 all-male violent and sexual offenders in the largest penitentiary in Switzerland, the Zurich State Penitentiary, who were sentenced to at least 10 months incarceration. The implications of these findings for institutional risk management and the future development of intramural detection of participants at risk in the German-speaking part of Europe are discussed. Tables, references
Main Term(s): Institutional violence; Switzerland; Violence prediction
Index Term(s): Behavior modification; Behavioral and Social Sciences; Group behavior; Individual behavior; Problem behavior; Sex offenders; Violent offenders
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.