ABOUT THIS PROJECT
The research title: "A weather predictive model of violence – exploring incident mapping and the flow of violence at Pollsmoor Management Area." The PhD research aims to find risk factors in predicting violence in Correctional Centres.
Assaults in South African correctional centres has always been a concern. Although not much has been written on this phenomenon directly. During my Masters in criminology, my research dissertation sought to explore the phenomenon of Prison Violence. The research focussed offender-on-offender assaults within Pollsmoor Medium B, the project explored the ways in which assaults within the prison are defined and described. This research has many limitations in its current form but could be repeated at other correctional centres to further our understanding of prison violence.
For my PhD research topic, I wish to explore the phenomenon of prison violence and assaults. I wish to expand the research parameters, exploring prison violence on a national level. The master's research only focused on one category of offenders (sentenced offenders) and one form of violence (Assault). The PhD research will continue to focus only on physical violence (assaults) as the main theme but expand to include other forms of security-related incidents to see whether any connections exist. The research will also include a wider range of actors; offenders, awaiting trial detainees, correctional officers and service providers. Using the same theoretical synergy between situation, importation, deprivation and exportation models of violence to guide the research methodology. I wish to explore the mapping and flow of correctional centre violence. The mapping and flow of violent incidents look as to what, happened, where and when and are there any related. The main method of data collection will be discourse and thematic analysis of the incident reports and investigation documents.
The concern raised with the department’s current strategy is that it is reactive policing of a violent area. The department has the same strategy as police to prevent ‘crime’. The strategies are focused on visible policing and direct supervision. A guideline or a policy; a wall or wires, will delay and redistribute violence in a correctional centre but it will not stop or remove violence. Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Adv. T.M Masutha states in the 2015/2016 – 2019/2020 strategic plan that correctional centres “comprise[s] of inherent risks, which include violent assaults, deaths, escapes, corruption and the smuggling of contraband.” (Department of Correctional Services, 2015, p. 6).
The main contribution that this research could add to the context of correctional centre violence is understanding. Little is known about the in-depth context of the correctional centre. The research proposes to look at one management area and explore how the incident affects each other. Intelligent led policing focuses on a synergy between coalface workers and analytical algorithms. Correctional centres do not exist in isolation, the events in one unit influence the units around it, and subsequently, one correctional centre influences the next. By mapping all the security-related incidents in a correctional centre it will vastly expand the understanding of how violence moves in a centre. The research proposes to expand to look at an entire management area it will reveal how normative events in one correctional centre influence the entire cluster of the centre.Through building a larger understanding of how events ebb and flow in a management area the research will aim to build a ‘weather model’; a series of investigative algorithms that can offer a correctional centre or management is the ability to ‘predict the weather’. The purpose of such algorithms is to mobilise ground-level officials with the capacity to identify risk factor that is specific to correctional centres – and the consequence of inaction.
What will this mean for the rest of the Scientific world?
If we look at violence as a pattern of engagement, a form of language, every incident is a conversation. If the build up to an argument could be mapped out and the factors that led to a violent resolve could be identified - you could then avoid these trigger points. Although [general public] tend to believe that violence only happens in remote isolated events, those events do not occur in isolation from the world around us. The proposed research will have "fringe benefits" in the sense that it will look at violence as a comprehensively and holistically as possible - it is a broken window that provides the shard of glass, that provides the means to make a weapon, the access to a weapon provides a means for an already aggravated individual to escalate his behaviour. The theoretical model of violence prediction and synergy of theoretical models to understand the context of violence can be applied outside of a prison, or correctional environment. Through the understanding of how violence builds, morphs, dissipates; and ultimately release in a violent altercation - we can understand how other forms of violence occurs in similar spaces (semi-closed) environments like Schools and Offices. It is essential to understand that physical violence only refers to one form of violence where the researcher will be including other forms of violence like emotional, psychological, structural and cultural forms of violence in the overarching understand of violence.
Who am I?
- I am Hannes Koekemoer, I am a correctional officer, criminologist and a researcher in prison violence. I am concerned about how violence moves and escalates in spaces and how [in]formal systems react to contain, maintain, limited and prevent violence. I have seen what we as humanity can achieve at our best and at our worst
Where am I based?
- I am Pretoria based, but I have lived and moved across our beautiful country.
- In a global village that is moving towards a 4th revolution our world is becoming smaller, "things" are becoming more expensive. I have tried other funding avenue but with no success. Thus I seek help from the global village. It is unfortunate that promoting studies and academia are not like building a new playground - it's not an open plan everybody is happy type thing. It is not really tangible - academics is weird - its odd - the knowledge gained in this study will hep a marginalised few, but the research could be used to predict violence in other spaces. It could open doors for other researchers to apply similar theoretical frameworks to Schools, to work place environments.
What will the funding be used for?
- Tuition fees for the two years
- Electronic Resources
- Data Processing
- Travelling (a total of 80 days in Cape Town)