Race group differences in prison victimization experiences

John Wooldredge, Benjamin Steiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Purpose: To assess differences in victimization risk between African American and white, non-Latino inmates, and to estimate race group differences in the correlates of victimization. Methods: Random samples totaling 2,403 African Americans and 3,150 whites were drawn from all state prisons in Ohio and Kentucky and all private prisons in Ohio (n=46). Race-specific bi-level models of physical assaults and property thefts were estimated. Differences between race-specific models in the magnitude of regression coefficients for the same predictors and outcomes were compared. Results: The odds of victimization by physical assault and by theft were significantly higher among whites compared to African Americans. Race group differences in the magnitude of several inmate level effects (e.g., age, sex, education, family status, officer "legitimacy", custody score, visitation) were also significant, yet facility effects were similar for both groups. Conclusions: Assessing differences in the victimization experiences of African American and white inmates is important for developing effective crime prevention strategies in prison. We examined the most comprehensive models of inmate victimization (including inmate socio-demographics, activities during confinement, perceptions of officers, facility characteristics, and officer perceptions of rule enforcement) for one of the largest samples of prisons to date.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)358-369
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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