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Quality of prison life, violence and mental health in Dubrava prison

Mette Skar (DIGNITY – Danish Institute Against Torture, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Nicoline Lokdam (DIGNITY – Danish Institute Against Torture, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Alison Liebling (Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK)
Alban Muriqi (Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT), Prishtinë, Kosovo)
Ditor Haliti (Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT), Prishtinë, Kosovo)
Feride Rushiti (Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT), Prishtinë, Kosovo)
Jens Modvig (DIGNITY – Danish Institute Against Torture, Copenhagen, Denmark)

International Journal of Prisoner Health

ISSN: 1744-9200

Article publication date: 31 May 2019

Issue publication date: 22 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the association between the quality of prison life and mental health among prisoners and the occurrence of violence.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 203 prisoners from Dubrava Correctional Center in Kosovo participated. Data on background characteristics of the prisoners, quality of prison life, mental health symptoms and exposure to physical, psychological and sexual violence were collected through interviewer-administered questionnaires. Data were analyzed using general linear models (GLM) and manual backwards model search with step-wise exclusion.

Findings

The GLM analysis showed a significant negative association between anxiety symptom load (−1.4), physical violence (−1.5) and psychological violence (−1.9), and quality of prison life. Furthermore, it appeared that prisoners rating of quality of life (QoL) increased with time among prisoners not exposed to violence, while this was not seen among prisoners exposed to violence. Finally, there was an inverse association between the dimensions of respect, fairness, humanity and good staff/prisoner relations, and the proportion of prisoners exposed to violence.

Originality/value

An environment with higher levels of respect, fairness, humanity and good relations between staff and prisoners was associated with lower levels of violence. Hence, a prison that focuses on promoting QoL and good mental health among prisoners will show lower levels of violence, thereby making the prison a more tolerable place for the prisoners and a better working environment for prison staff.

Keywords

Citation

Skar, M., Lokdam, N., Liebling, A., Muriqi, A., Haliti, D., Rushiti, F. and Modvig, J. (2019), "Quality of prison life, violence and mental health in Dubrava prison", International Journal of Prisoner Health, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 262-272. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPH-10-2017-0047

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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