Prisons: Bullying and victimisation

Birmingham Law School

‘Only a whole prison approach can counter the rapidly changing dynamics of prison victimisation’

There are growing concerns about the safety of prisoners across the male prison estate, with an increasing number of deaths in custody, incidents of self-harm and assaults. Prison bullying continues to be a widespread problem, particularly in young offender institutions. However, the contemporary problem of prison bullying is little understood. The effects and impact of victimisation are significant both for the individuals concerned and the wider prison community. Understanding how, when and why prison violence and bullying occurs is crucial. 

A Birmingham Law School research report, Prison Bullying and Victimisation  says that only strong leadership, good staff-prisoner relationships and a ‘whole prison approach’ to anti-victimisation can counter the evolving problems of bullying and violence in prisons. Gooch and Treadwell’s (Birmingham City University) research offers a unique insight into the new dynamics of prison bullying and victimisation, and the illicit sub rosa economy.

The report concludes that high levels of violence and bullying are not inevitable, but will not be reduced without a whole prison approach.