Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Prison violence

Prison staff love to play up the risks they face in their job. Two
questions, though. How many screws have been killed by prisoners? And
how many cons have died at the hands of prison staff?


  1. I don't know. But I could take a guess at a ratio that leans heavily on the side of dead prisoners. Do you have statistics?

  2. no screw has been killed on the british mainland in living memory.

  3. Hmm. I suspect that the prisoner is more likely to be the one killed, but statistically just 'numbers of deaths' won't say much.

    If you want to look at the individual risk faced by each, you'd need to compare numbers of deaths per annum per thousand (of that type). Otherwise the fact that there are less prison officers than prisoners will always make their side look lower.

    There are additional arguments which can come into play, in the sense that prisoners should not be at risk of violence from officers (note 'should' rather than 'will not' - those that do not abide by this are not fit to do the job) except where necessary to defend themselves or similar, whereas it has certainly been known for prisoners to attack officers.

    I also suspect that death rates in both cases are low, and a more reliable statistic might be hospitalisations per thousand (inmates/officers) per year if you actually wanted to quantify the risk.

    Oh, as I rarely send Christmas cards to anyone, I'll not be sending you one either! But I wish you all the best for the festive season nonetheless...

  4. there has been some drastic incompetence in the prison service - the case of a young offenders institution who put a right wing fascist in the same cell as an asian youth. within 24 hours the fascist had beaten the poor lad to death.
    merry xmas by the way, love the blog! :-)