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Chapter 4 The Social World of the Prisoner Who Is In Prison? Overall Population 2 million in prisons and jails Rate of imprisonment may be slowing down.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 4 The Social World of the Prisoner Who Is In Prison? Overall Population 2 million in prisons and jails Rate of imprisonment may be slowing down."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Chapter 4 The Social World of the Prisoner

3 Who Is In Prison? Overall Population 2 million in prisons and jails Rate of imprisonment may be slowing down

4 Race and Gender (1 of 2)  Go to   Rates for men  Black men – 3,437/100,000  Hispanic men – 1,176/100,000  White men 450/100,000

5 Race and Gender (2 of 2)  Rates for women  Black women – 191/100,000  Hispanic women – 80/100,000  White women 35/100,000  Rate of growth for women is higher but still means smaller numbers

6 Persons in Prison by Type of Crime 49% are sentenced for violent crime 19% are sentenced for property crimes 20% are sentenced for drug crimes Difference between statistic of total prison population versus admitted population % of violent, property, and drug offenders Decrease in % of total population of violent offenders between 1985–1990 Decrease in property offenders Increase in drug offenders

7 Sentence Length and Time Served Average sentence length decreased Percentage of time served has increased Average prison sentence is 3 years

8 Age and Education Young and uneducated 41% have no high school diploma

9 The Prison as a Social Setting Total institution Separate system v. congregate system Both created isolated world of prison Isolated world creates unique prisoner subculture Researching the Prisoner Subculture Participant observation (examples) Survey Other?

10 The Process of Imprisonment (1 of 3) Degradation Ceremonies Stripping of outside identity Everyone the same, no individuality Getting “Cliqued On” and “Ho Checked” Tests by prisoners and guards

11 The Process of Imprisonment (2 of 3) Inmate code Rules, language, roles, values How does it develop? Deprivations Liberty, goods and services, heterosexual relationships, autonomy, security

12 The Process of Imprisonment (3 of 3) Deprivation theory (Gresham Sykes) The subculture is created to meet the prisoner’s needs Importation theory (Irwin and Cressey) Roles, language, values imported from street Research supports both theories Zimbardo experiment

13 Prisons From the 1940s to the 1960s (1 of 4) The Inmate Code Don’t rat, don’t interfere, etc. Women’s code not same as men’s Eroded since the 1940s Prisoner Slang Argot: symbolic expression of solidarity Snitch, fish, “dawg,” others?

14 Prisons From the 1940s to the 1960s (2 of 4) Prisoner Roles Argot roles: based on activities, values Schrag: square john, con politician, right guy, outlaw Women’s roles? Giallombardo’s Prisoner Values Group loyalty, violence, resistance, strength Violence is a central theme Snitches are another theme of prison life Sanctions: different in men’s and women’s prisons

15 Prisons From the 1940s to the 1960s (3 of 4) Homosexuality and Rape Men’s prisons – wolves & punks Women’s prisons – consensual (“butches”) Pseudofamilies not found in men’s prisons Measurement difficult to estimate true extent of homosexuality 1–7% forced sex; 15–20% some form of sexual victimization Prison Rape Elimination Act 2003

16 Prisons From the 1940s to the 1960s (4 of 4) Adapting to Prison: Prisonization Goffman Situational withdrawal, intransigent line, colonization, conversion Pattern of prisonization Linear, U-shaped curve

17 Prisons From the 1960s to the 1980s Changing Free World Massive social change; recognition of “rights” of Blacks, juveniles, women, etc. Use of social activism to induce social change Changing Prison World Civil rights extended to prison; Black activists were incarcerated as were students Use of group organized activity (including riots) Use of litigation Black awareness led to race-based gangs

18 Prisons From the 1980s to Today (1 of 4) Major issue was prison population explosion Prisoner rights movement Minorities came to represent majority Changes to the Inmate Code and Subculture Greater emphasis of race Greater need to isolate and stay out of yard activity Similar changes in women’s prison

19 Prisons From the 1980s to Today (2 of 4) Prison Gangs Stems from ethnic identification of 1960s Best known gangs in Illinois, California, and Texas Gangs – black market Texas – came after dismantling of building tenders in late 1980s Women do not have obvious or prevalent gang activity

20 Prisons From the 1980s to Today (3 of 4) Racial Conflict in Prisons Perception is that racial violence is pervasive Trulson and Marquart found that racial violence did not escalate with integration Disproportionate violence perpetrated by small number of inmates

21 Prisons From the 1980s to Today (4 of 4)  The Black Market in Prisons  Contraband – anything against the rules  Anything is for sale including sex  Responses to the Violent Prison Today: Containing Extraordinary Prisoners  Super-max – marginally successful in keeping gang communications to a minimum

22 Change and Survival in the Prisoner Subculture Today Avoiding “The Mix”: Niches and Sanctuaries in the Prisoner Subculture Niche – sanctuary, protected living situation


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