• 2016
    • Goncalves, L. C., Endrass, J., Rossegger, A., Dirkzwager, A. J. E. (2016). A longitudinal study of mental health symptoms in young prisoners: exploring the influence of personal factors and the correctional climate. BMC Psychiatry, 91, 1-11. doi: 10.1186/
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      Background:Despite the high prevalence rate of mental health problems among young prisoners, little is known about the longitudinal course and covariates of their mental health symptoms during incarceration, especially the influence of the correctional climate. The current study aimed: (1) to examine changes in young prisoners’ mental health symptoms during incarceration, (2) to identify personal factors associated with their mental health symptoms and perceptions of the correctional climate, and (3) to test the incremental effect of perceptions of the correctional climate on mental health symptoms.Methods:Data were obtained from a sample of 75 youths (aged 17 to 22 years) detained in a Portuguese young offender prison. Data were gathered 1, 3, and 6 months after their admission in this facility. Socio-demographic, clinical and criminological variables were collected. Mental health symptoms and perceptions of the correctional climate were assessed through self-report assessment tools. Linear and logistic (multi-level) regressions and tests for differences between means were performed to analyze the data.Results:Overall, mental health symptoms marginally declined by the sixth month in prison. Prisoners with a history of mental health treatment were more likely to have increased symptoms. Higher levels of mental health symptoms were associated with a history of mental health treatment, remand status, and a lower educational level. Better perceptions of the correctional climate were associated with Black race and participation in prison activities. A negative perception of the correctional climate was the strongest covariate of young prisoners’ mental health symptoms and had incremental validity over that of personal variables.Conclusions:The results highlight that both characteristics of the prisoners and of the prison environment influence young prisoners’ mental health. Prison management can try to reduce young prisoners’ mental health problems by developing scientific procedures for their mental health assessment and creating a more beneficial correctional climate.Zum Artikel

  • 2014
    • Noll, T. & Endrass, J. (2014). Suizidprävention im Gefängnis. Kriminologisches Journal, 46(1), 2-14.
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       Zwischen dem Suizid eines Häftlings und demjenigen einer Person in Freiheit gibt es viele Parallelen, aber auch Unterschiede. Im folgenden Text wird nach einer summarischen Präsentation von Epidemiologie und Risikofaktoren für Suizide in der Allgemeinbevölkerung vertieft auf die Besonderheiten bei Gefangenen eingegangen. Besonderer Fokus wird auf die Frage der Ursache von Gefangenensuiziden gerichtet. Insbesondere werden zur Suizidprävention Best-Practice-Empfehlungen für den Umgang des Strafvollzugspersonals mit suizidalen Häftlingen abgegeben. Falls es doch zu einem Todesfall kommen sollte, können damit ausserdem strafrechtliche Konsequenzen für das Personal und Haftpflichtfälle vermieden werden.

  • 2012
    • Hagenmuller, F., Rössler, W., Endrass, J., Rossegger, A., & Haker, H. (2012). Empathische Resonanzfähigkeit bei Straftätern mit psychopathischen Persönlichkeitszügen. Neuropsychiatrie, 26(2), 65-71.
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      Resonanz ist das unbewusste körpernahe Miterleben eines motorischen, vegetativen oder emotionalen Zustands einer anderen Person und stellt eine wichtige Grundlage der Empathie dar. Neben Autismus und Schizophrenie werden auch die psychopathischen Persönlichkeitszüge mit Empathiedysfunktionen assoziiert. Methodik: In der vorliegenden Studie wird die empathische Resonanzfähigkeit im Sinne von Ansteckung durch Lachen und Gähnen bei Straftätern mit psychopathischen Persönlichkeitszügen untersucht. Während sie kurze Videosequenzen mit lachenden, gähnenden und neutralen Gesichtern anschauten, wurden Straftäter (n = 12) und Kontrollprobanden (n = 10) auf Video aufgezeichnet und hinsichtlich der zu beobachtenden Ansteckung eingeschätzt. Zusätzlich wurden die Selbsteinschätzung psychopathischer Züge und empathischer Fähigkeiten erhoben. Ergebnisse: Im Vergleich zur Kontrollgruppe zeigte die Straftätergruppe signifikant weniger Ansteckung und weniger selbst-eingeschätzte empathische Fähigkeiten. Probanden, die sich als empathischer einschätzen, zeigten mehr Ansteckung. Schlussfolgerungen: Die beobachtete reduzierte Resonanz im Sinne von Ansteckung könnte die Kaltherzigkeit mancher psychopathischer Straftäter erklären: eine reduzierte körperbezogene Nachempfindung physischer und emotionaler Situationen anderer könnte die Überwindung natürlicher Gewalthemmung begünstigen.

  • 2009
    • Endrass J, Urbaniok F, Gerth J, Rossegger A (2009): Gewalt im Strafvollzug: Prävalenz, Erscheinungsformen und Risikofaktoren. PRAXIS.98(22):1279-1283.
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      Beim Vergleich verschiedener Studien über Gewalt im Strafvollzug ist zu berücksichtigen, dass sich Vollzugsin- stitutionen stark voneinander unterscheiden. Studien aus der Schweiz ergaben, dass etwa jeder vierte Insasse mindestens einmal während der Haft mit Gewalt auffällt. Dabei haben die Gewalthandlungen unterschiedliche Erscheinungsformen. Die spezifische Charakterisierung der Gewalt nach Art, Ziel, Auswirkung und Auslöser ist darum wichtig. Bestehende Instrumente zur Kriminalprognose eignen sich nicht zur Schätzung des Risikos gewalttätiger Handlungen im Strafvollzug, weshalb die Entwicklung spezifischer Modelle für diese Fragestellung notwendig ist. In internationalen Studien wurden diverse Risikomerkmale identifiziert. Auf Schweizer Verhältnisse lassen sich diese jedoch aufgrund der erwähnten Institutionsunterschiede nur teilweise übertragen.

  • 2008
    • Endrass, J., Rossegger, A., Frischknecht, A., Noll, T., & Urbaniok, F. (2008). Using the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG) to predict in-prison aggressive behavior in a Swiss offender population. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparativ
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      The present study is a first-time evaluation of the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide's (VRAG) predictive quality for institutional violence in a German-speaking country. The VRAG was assessed for 106 violent and sexual offenders based on their files. Violent infractions during imprisonment were evaluated using the files of the state penitentiary. Results show in accordance with previous studies only a moderate effect between VRAG scores and institutional misconduct. However, these findings were only significant for participants with a sex crime as index offense. In the study, the VRAG was unable to predict verbal and physical violence by violent offenders. The implications of these findings for institutional risk management and the future development of intramural detection of participants at risk in the German-speaking part of Europe are discussed.

    • Endrass, J., Rossegger, A., Urbaniok, F., Laubacher, A., & Vetter, S. (2008). Predicting violent infractions in a Swiss state penitentiary: A replication study of the PCL-R in a population of sex and violent offenders. BMC Psychiatry, 8(74). doi: 10.1186/
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      Research conducted with forensic psychiatric patients found moderate correlations between violence in institutions and psychopathy. It is unclear though, whether the PCL-R is an accurate instrument for predicting aggressive behavior in prisons. Results seem to indicate that the instrument is better suited for predicting verbal rather than physical aggression of prison inmates. Methods: PCL-R scores were assessed for a sample of 113 imprisoned sex and violent offenders in Switzerland. Logistic regression analyses were used to estimate physical and verbal aggression as a function of the PCL-R sum score. Additionally, stratified analyses were conducted for Factor 1 and 2. Infractions were analyzed as to their motives and consequences. Results: The mean score of the PCL-R was 12 points. Neither the relationship between physical aggression and the sum score of the PCL-R, nor the relationship between physical aggression and either of the two factors of the PCL-R were significant. Both the sum score and Factor 1 predicted the occurrence of verbal aggression (AUC = 0.70 and 0.69), while Factor 2 did not. Conclusion: Possible explanations are discussed for the weak relationship between PCL-R scores and physically aggressive behavior during imprisonment. Some authors have discussed whether the low base rate of violent infractions can be considered an explanation for the non-significant relation between PCL-R-score and violence. The base rate in this study, however, with 27%, was not low. It is proposed that the distinction between reactive and instrumental motives of institutional violence must be considered when examining the usefulness of the PCL-R in predicting in-prison physical aggressive behavior. Zum Artikel

    • Endrass, J., Rossegger, A., Noll, T., & Urbaniok, F. (2008). Prädiktoren für Gewalt während des Strafvollzugs. Schweizer Archiv für Neurologie und Psychiatrie, 159(1), 23-33.
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      The factors leading to violent behaviour in prison have been the subject of various research projects. Besides causing financial and structural damage to the penitentiary, violent behaviour during prison sentences is considered to be an important predictor of re-offending. The following article provides an overview of the research literature concerning predictors of violence during imprisonment. The examined criteria include socio-demographic (e.g. age, marital status and level of education) as well as criminological (e.g. previous violent convictions, duration of sentence and type of offence) factors. However, the analysis of the significance of the individual factors is not conclusive. Considering the results of numerous replication studies, young age seems to be connected to an increase in risk for intramural infractions while partnership (marriage) seems to have a protective influence. Regarding vocational training and educational level, mixed results were found. However, being unemployed at the time of the crime seemed to increase the risk for rule violations during imprisonment in most studies analysed. Furthermore, it is generally accepted that duration of sentence and time already served has an influence on the risk of violence as well. Inmates with shorter or finite sentences presented violent behaviour more frequently. The relationship between duration of sentence and violent infractions has repeatedly been described as an inverse U-shaped curve. Accordingly, most violations of prison rules occurred in mid-sentence. The literature examined presents inconsistent results concerning previous violent convictions, type of index offence, ethnic origin and the influence of alcohol consumption and drug use. Evidence seems to be more consistent regarding pre-existing risk-associated socio-demographic variables rather than institutional conditions. Overall comparability of the studies was, however, reduced by the fact that violent behaviour was defined very heterogeneously in the different institutions – sometimes even including verbally aggressive behaviour. Institutions also differed in the likelihood of an infraction being recorded. The heterogeneity of the results can furthermore be explained with the very different cultural and sociological backgrounds of the different institutions examined. As prognostic models are very sample sensitive it is vital to define precisely for which populations the prediction is valid and to examine samples of appropriate size and representativeness as well as control a wide variety of influencing factors with multivariable controlling strategies.

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