Arnold Ventures awards $2.7 million for prison violence study

Arnold Ventures awards $2.7 million for prison violence study

The University of California, Irvine has announced a $2.7 million gift from Arnold Ventures in support of a comprehensive study of the sources and consequences of prison violence.

Working in partnership with the Prison Violence Consortium — which includes the departments of corrections in Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas — researchers will conduct a thorough empirical assessment of the nature, causes, and effects of prison violence. Among other things, the team will collect information on violence and victimization among the incarcerated and against staff — including its prevalence, contributing factors, and institutional responses to such incidents — as well as a review of incident reports, interviews with individuals and correctional and behavioral health professionals, and a systematic evaluation of policies, procedures, and staff training. Findings from the three-year study will be used to create an evidence-based framework for reducing and preventing incidents of violence in the nation's prison system.

"We are in an era where policy makers, criminal justice professionals, and the public have called for greater accountability and implementation of policies for reducing crime in the community," said principal investigator Nancy Rodriguez, a professor of criminology, law, and society. "Unfortunately, violence behind the walls has received far less attention, and as a result prisons around the country do not have clear guidance on how to effectively reduce institutional violence. Our study will not only identify the drivers of victimization and violence among incarcerated individuals and staff, but also inform targeted interventions that can be implemented [across] the United States."

(Photo credit: Arnold Ventures)