Prison Violence: Causes, Consequences and Solutions, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Prison Violence

Causes, Consequences and Solutions, 1st Edition

By Kristine Levan


168 pages

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Drawing on a range of research and media sources to provide an international perspective on the topic of prison violence, this book focuses on the impact of such violence on the individual both while he or she is incarcerated and upon his or her release from prison, as well as on society as a whole. With a special emphasis on comparisons of violence among incarcerated populations in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, Prison Violence: Causes, Consequences and Solutions explores the various systems that exist to combat the problem, whilst also considering public perceptions of offenders and punishment, as influenced by media and coverage of high-profile cases. Providing a comprehensive analysis of prison violence on national and international levels, this book examines the extent of the problem, theoretical understandings of the issue and concrete solutions designed to prevent and handle such violence. As such, it will be of interest to policy makers as well as scholars of sociology, criminology and penology.


'Levan's broad approach allows her to compare violence in US prisons to violence in prisons in other countries and ultimately to offer varied explanations concerning the genesis of prison violence. As a fitting conclusion to this valuable work, Levan suggests ways to prevent and treat violence in prisons. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Undergraduates through faculty.' Choice

'Getting smart on crime� requires attention to prison violence. Levan makes an important contribution through her comprehensive review of the harm (to individuals, families and communities) and numerous research-based solutions.' Paul Leighton, Eastern Michigan University, USA

'A compelling and comprehensive examination of a commonly overlooked subject. Particularly useful for newcomers to this area, the text is highly readable. While focusing on the United States, cross-national data is also presented, giving a comparative perspective. It also offers an astute discussion of ways to prevent and respond to prison violence.' Tiffany Bergin, Cambridge University, UK

'In her compelling text, Dr Levan offers a comprehensive treatment of the age-old problem of prison violence, an issue that has remained in the shadows for far too long. Prison Violence: Causes, Consequences and Solutions provides a concise, yet detailed analysis of the origins and implications of a prison culture that endorses violence as a means of currency and problem resolution. Levan brings a fresh and much-needed approach to the complex issue, incorporating cross-cultural comparisons and discussing the ways in which violence is dealt with inside the prison walls. A must read for students of penology and violence, as well as the public as a whole.' Danielle Lavin-Loucks, Valparaiso University, USA

'… for practitioners, this could be a very helpful resource; it is a concise and accessible summary of the issues surrounding prison violence and an introduction to how to reduce this. For those working in the field this could be a useful source of reflection, review, and further reading.' Prison Service Journal

'Prison Violence offers the reader an overview of violence in American Prisons and, in one chapter, compares our system with various other countries. The book is perfect for the reader who is new to the study of incarceration as it covers a lot of ground and seeks to outline the reality of violence behind bars. The author takes a theoretical approach to this subject and offers some insight into the emerging topics surrounding this field. The greatest strength of her book is the author’s ability to clearly explain the difference between the myth of prison violence and the social reality of the prisoner… perfect for an introduction to corrections class at undergraduate level… the non-academic audience would greatly benefit from reading Kristine Levan’s remarkable book.' Criminal Law & Criminal Justice Books

Table of Contents

1. An introduction to prisons, punishment and prison violence

2. Prison, by the numbers

3. Prisons and prison violence in other countries

4. Prison violence: explanations and theoretical underpinnings

5. The effects of prison violence

6. Challenges to understanding the problem

7. What is being done?

8. The long road ahead: the future of prison violence



About the Author

Kristine Levan is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Idaho, USA.

About the Series

Solving Social Problems

Solving Social Problems

Solving Social Problems provides a forum for the description and measurement of social problems, with a keen focus on the concrete remedies proposed for their solution. The series takes an international perspective, exploring social problems in various parts of the world, with the central concern being always their possible remedy. As such, work is welcomed on subjects as diverse as environmental damage, terrorism, economic disparities and economic devastation, poverty, inequalities, domestic assaults and sexual abuse, health care, natural disasters, labour inequality, animal abuse, crime, and mental illness and its treatment. In addition to recommending solutions to social problems, the books in this series are theoretically sophisticated, exploring previous discussions of the issues in question, examining other attempts to resolve them, and adopting and discussing methodologies that are commonly used to measure social problems. Proposed solutions may be framed as changes in policy, practice, or more broadly, social change and social movement. Solutions may be reflective of ideology, but are always pragmatic and detailed, explaining the means by which the suggested solutions might be achieved.

To submit a proposal for the series, please contact the series editor at


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General