Advanced search
NSW Public Health Bulletin archive

Prison violence: Perspectives and epidemiology Volume 17 Issue 1-2

Tony Butler, Azar Kariminia

New South Wales Public Health Bulletin 17(2) 17 - 20 Published: 2006

  • Citation

  • PDF

About the author/s

Tony Butler

Azar Kariminia


Violent crime receives considerable media attention. Its
importance to the community is such that it is used as a
yardstick against which to judge the effectiveness of social
policy and the performance of governments. Programs and
interventions to reduce violence and its consequences are
needed given the level of community concern and the impact
violence has on both the victim and society. Many of those
who commit violent crimes receive custodial sentences and
spend prolonged periods behind bars. Violence in prison
presents a challenge to custodial authorities because of the
risk of injury to prisoners and staff, and the impact violence
has on the provision of services, staffing, contact between
inmates, and rehabilitation. In this article we present the
rates of violent crime in Australia, NSW and within NSW
prisons. We also outline some of the major theories that seek
to explain violence in prisons, and discuss the difficulties
in recording violence within prisons. Recent findings from
the Prison Injury Surveillance Program by Justice Health
are also presented.