Situational variables and institutional violence: a systematic review of the literature.
ABSTRACT The impact of violence on institutions is not hard to discern: staff and patients are physically injured and may become psychologically disturbed, property is destroyed, and regimes and programs are disrupted and thereby impoverished. Furthermore, violent individuals are not only incarcerated for longer but are held in more expensive and more restrictive conditions. In order to manage institutional violence, risk factors need to be identified. Research directed at understanding institutional violence has tended to focus on person-centered explanations. However, human behavior does not occur in a vacuum of internal drives and motivations; situational factors are also relevant. A focus on situational risk factors may provide an additional means for managing institutional violence. The primary aim of this systematic review was to examine research that measured the impact of situational factors on institutional violence. The relationships among physical, verbal and/or sexual face-to-face violence and situational factors in prisons and closed psychiatric settings were reviewed. A descriptive and in-depth analysis of previous research findings was carried out. Findings indicated that a range of situational factors may impact on institutional violence. Methodological issues that influence the confidence that can be placed on these findings are considered. The implications of the findings are outlined.
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ABSTRACT: Studies have found that health workers are at elevated risk of being abused while at work. Little is known, however, about workplace abuse among correctional health professionals. We implemented a cross-sectional study to investigate the prevalence, sources and consequences of workplace abuse among correctional health professionals in New South Wales, Australia. METHODS All employees of Justice Health (a statutory health corporation) were invited to complete a self-administered survey, which was delivered via the internet. Among nurses, medical doctors and allied health professionals, 299 usable surveys were returned; a response rate of 42%. In the preceding 3 months, 76% of participants had personally experienced some form of abuse in their workplace, all but one of whom recalled verbal abuse. Only 16% reported physical abuse. Seventy per cent reported feeling safe in their workplace. Patients were identified as the main perpetrators of abuse, followed by fellow health staff. Participants felt that incidents of workplace abuse increased their potential to make errors while providing care to patients and reduced their productivity while at work. Compared with health workers who practise in a community setting, the risk of physical abuse among correctional health professionals appears to be low.Australian health review: a publication of the Australian Hospital Association 05/2012; 36(2):184-90. · 0.70 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Little is known about workplace violence among correctional health professionals. This study aimed to describe the patterns, severity and outcomes of incidents of workplace violence among employees of a large correctional health service, and to explore the help-seeking behaviours of staff following an incident. METHODS: The study setting was Justice Health, a statutory health corporation established to provide health care to people who come into contact with the criminal justice system in New South Wales, Australia. We reviewed incident management records describing workplace violence among Justice Health staff. The three-year study period was 1/7/2007-30/6/2010. RESULTS: During the period under review, 208 incidents of workplace violence were recorded. Verbal abuse (71%) was more common than physical abuse (29%). The most (44%) incidents of workplace violence (including both verbal and physical abuse) occurred in adult male prisons, although the most (50%) incidents of physical abuse occurred in a forensic hospital. Most (90%) of the victims were nurses and two-thirds were females. Younger employees and males were most likely to be a victim of physical abuse. Preparing or dispensing medication and attempting to calm and/or restrain an aggressive patient were identified as 'high risk' work duties for verbal abuse and physical abuse, respectively. Most (93%) of the incidents of workplace violence were initiated by a prisoner/patient. Almost all of the incidents received either a medium (46%) or low (52%) Severity Assessment Code. Few victims of workplace violence incurred a serious physical injury - there were no workplace deaths during the study period. However, mental stress was common, especially among the victims of verbal abuse (85%). Few (6%) victims of verbal abuse sought help from a health professional. CONCLUSIONS: Among employees of a large correctional health service, verbal abuse in the workplace was substantially more common than physical abuse. The most incidents of workplace violence occurred in adult male prisons. Review of the types of adverse health outcomes experienced by the victims of workplace violence and the assessments of severity assigned to violent incidents suggests that, compared with health care settings in the community, correctional settings are fairly safe places in which to practice.BMC Health Services Research 08/2012; 12(1):245. · 1.77 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to describe how aggressive and violent incidents differ across specialist gender, security and mental health/learning disability pathways in specialist secure care. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper uses a retrospective survey of routinely collected incident data from one 207-bed UK independent sector provider of specialist medium and low secure mental health care for male and female adults with primary diagnosis of mental illness or intellectual disability. Findings ‐ In total, 3,133 incidents involving 184/373 (49.3 per cent) patients were recorded (68.2 per cent other-directed aggression, 31.8 per cent self-harm). Most incidents occurred in the medium secure wards but more than half of the most severely rated self-harm incidents occurred in low security. Men were disproportionately involved in incidents, but a small number of women were persistently involved in multiple acts. Incidents were most common in the intellectual disability pathway. Research limitations/implications ‐ Incidents, especially those of lower severity, can be under-reported in routine practice. Information about incident severity was limited. Practical implications ‐ Aggressive incidents do not occur homogenously across forensic and secure mental health services but differ substantially in their frequency and nature across security levels, and gender and mental health/intellectual disability pathways. Different approaches to training and management are required to ensure appropriate prevention and intervention. Future practice should draw on emerging theories of differential susceptibility. Originality/value ‐ This paper extends current knowledge about how incidents of violence and aggression differ across secure settings.Journal of Forensic Practice. 01/2013; 15(3).