The Prison Violence Intervention (PVI) aims to enhance safety and security in prisons for both staff and incarcerated people, and create the conditions necessary for treatment, rehabilitation, and effective reentry. PVI relies on direct communication with incarcerated people through call-ins, as well as briefings during intake and documents distributed to cells, to deliver an anti-violence message from community members, information about consequences for further violence, and an offer of help for those who want it. The strategy uses the National Network’s process to identify the institution’s key players and target serious prison offenses such as assaults against staff, multi-prisoner fights, and assaults with weapons.
In call-in meetings, prison staff informs incarcerated persons that further violence by any member of a group will result in swift, certain consequences for its members—things meaningful to prisoners, like limits on telephone privileges, personal radio use, television access, or time in the yard. The prison also invites family, influential community members, and formerly incarcerated people to speak to prisoners, sharing their experiences with the damage caused by group-related violence. Finally, prison staff explains the help they can offer—opportunities like substance abuse counseling, and GED and vocational classes aimed at making good use of their time and helping them come out prepared.
Initial reports from the Washington State Department of Corrections, where the strategy was piloted, suggest that it has resulted in significant decreases in violent acts against staff and other prisoners.