Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Criminal Justice


Gohar Petrossian

Committee Members

Jeff Mellow

Deborah Koetzle

Marcus Felson

Subject Categories

Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice | Environmental Studies | Place and Environment | Social Justice


Criminological Theory, Institutional Corrections, Victimization, Mixed Methods, Triangulation Research Design, Conditions of Confinement


The study explores the occurrence of victimization while incarcerated in American jails and prisons. Consistent with the Routine Activity Approach – which explains that victimization occurs due to the convergence of a suitable target and a motivated offender in time and space, and the absence of a capable guardian, handler, and place manager –, this study investigates the applicability of the approach within the correctional setting, namely the influence of place management, access to informal guardians, and the victims’ perception of correctional officers’ capability on preventing victimization (the formal guardian). A mixed methods design was employed, analyzing 87 semi-structured interviews with formerly incarcerated persons regarding their experiences of confinement. Findings yield that: (1) within the correctional setting, actors in the crime event can shift roles (e.g., go from guardian to offender) depending on the relationships that exist among incarcerated persons and correctional officers; and (2) place management is not associated with victimization but influences the underlying relationships among incarcerated persons and correctional officers. The influence of, and association between additional concepts from the Routine Activity Approach and victimization are explored as well.