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Journal of Criminal Justice 34 2006 631 642 The correctional melting pot Race ethnicity citizenship and prison violence Mark T Berg a Matt DeLisi b a b Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice University of Missouri St Louis 839 Lucas Hall St Louis Missouri 63121 4499 United States Department of Sociology Iowa State University 203A East Hall Ames Iowa 50011 1070 United States Abstract The United States prison population is becoming more diverse and comprised of increasingly more violent inmates Although race has been cited as a risk factor for inmate violence most prior research had narrowly investigated White Black differences in inmate misconduct Using a sample of 1 005 inmates from the southwestern U S the current study explored racial ethnic and citizenship correlates among male and female prisoners Negative binomial regression models indicated that net of controls Hispanics and Native Americans were the most violent male prisoners while African Americans and Native Americans were the most violent female inmates The current study was admittedly modest in scope however the findings were couched within a broader imperative sociological framework that lamented the increasing interplay between communities and prison and the role of prison as a social institution 2006 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved Introduction The United States correctional population is viewed as a pressing societal problem with widespread sociological and social implications The most obvious concern centers on the magnitude of America s inmate population especially when compared to the correctional populations of peer nations At midyear 2003 the most recent point of data collection there were nearly 2 1 million people incarcerated in the United States Nearly 1 4 million inmates were housed in state and federal prisons and the remaining 691 301 defendants were held in local jails Harrison Karberg 2004 The result is an American imprisonment rate that has been estimated between six and twelve



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