Victimisation in prison

Project period

2011 – 2012

Project staff

Prof. Dr. Christian Pfeiffer

Dr. Steffen Bieneck


Justizministerium Niedersachsen

Project description

The project provided the first comprehensive data regarding experiences of victimisation among prisoners. The study, which was conducted in all prisons in Lower Saxony, provided empirical knowledge about the extent to which prisoners experience violence and other criminal offences committed by other inmates, the types of violence they are confronted with, and the situations in which such conflicts tend to occur. The findings were used to develop measures and intervention strategies for improved prisoner safety.

To provide the most comprehensive possible picture of the situation regarding victimisation in prison, the materials used in the study were translated into 19 different languages and distributed among the prisoners. For the most part, standardised instruments were used that are well established in victimisation research. This allows the data obtained on the situation in Germany to be used for comparison purposes in international studies with the aim of identifying similarities and highlighting country-specific differences. The full census approach also allowed for comparison of cases actually documented in prison files and of those reported but unrecorded, thus supplying information regarding the ratio of reported and unreported victimisation in prisons in Lower Saxony.

Project related publications
  • Baier, D., Bergmann, M.C., & Mößle, T. (2012). Gewalt unter Inhaftierten im niedersächsischen Justizvollzug. KFN-Forschungsbericht. Hannover: KFN.
  • Bieneck, S. & Pfeiffer, C. (2012): Viktimisierungserfahrungen im Justizvollzug.KFN-Forschungsbericht; Nr.: 119. Hannover: KFN. Download