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Publication Violent State Prisoners and Their Victims

Christopher A. Innes, Ph.D., Lawrence A. Greenfeld, Bureau of Justice Statistics

July 1, 1990    NCJ 124133

The 1986 survey called for a sample of 275 facilities and a sample of approximately 15,000 inmates. Of a total of 14,649 inmates selected for the survey, 13,711 were successfully interviewed. Nearly one-third of violent male offenders reported they were serving a sentence for robbing a stranger; more than one-quarter of the violent female offenders were in prison for killing a relative or intimate. Eighty-nine percent of white offenders said that they had victimized another white, compared to 49 percent of black inmates who reported victimizing another black. Violent offenders did not differ significantly from nonviolent offenders in sex, ethnicity, age, marital status, or education; however, violent offenders were more likely to be black (51 percent) than were nonviolent offenders (42 percent black). Approximately one in four violent offenders (27 percent) was imprisoned for an offense that had led to a victim's death. Of all violent offenders, 59 percent reported not knowing their victim; 24 percent said they knew the victim very well or as an acquaintance; 10 percent said the victim was a relative; and 7 percent described the victim as an intimate. More than 5 out of 10 violent offenders reported that the victim or victims were male, almost 4 out of 10 had only female victims, and 1 out of 10 reported both male and female victims. Three-quarters of the violent victimizations that involved both sexes were robberies. Violent offenders with the most extensive criminal histories were the most likely to have victimized a relative or intimate. Over two-thirds of the violent inmates reported that either they or the victims were using alcohol or drugs at the time of the crime. 14 tables


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