The relationship between aggressive behaviour in prison and violent offending following release

Jessica Lee Mooney, Michael David Daffern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Aggression during incarceration impacts on parole release decisions. However, research examining the link between aggressive behaviour in custody and violence post-release is limited, particularly in relation to adult violent offenders. Several factors complicate the use of institutional aggression as a marker of risk for future violence, including environmental causes of aggressive behaviour and adaptation to prison. This study explored the association between aggressive behaviour in prison and violent recidivism post-release in a sample of 148 adult male violent offenders. Prisoners with three or more aggressive incidents recorded in prison incurred a violent charge more often and sooner after release than those with no aggressive incidents, when controlling for age, ethnicity, length of incarceration and risk for future violence. Subjects with one or two aggressive incidents were not at increased risk of violent recidivism. These findings suggest that institutional aggression can be used to identify individuals at risk of violence following release but only when repeated aggressive behaviour is evident. Importantly, some prisoners who were not aggressive in prison were charged with violent offences post-release and some prisoners with three or more aggressive incidents were not violent following release, highlighting the complexity of using in-prison aggression as a marker for violent recidivism
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314 - 329
Number of pages16
JournalPsychology, Crime and Law
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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