Presentation on theme: "Prison Culture & Inmate Life"— Presentation transcript:
1 Prison Culture & Inmate Life Mr. Concannon SmithUnit 5
2 Prison CulturePrison cultures are unique because prisons are total institutionsThe culture encompasses every aspect of an inmate’s lifePrisoners cannot leave the institution or have meaningful interactions with outside communitiesAll prisoners are required to follow the schedule in exactly the same mannerevery aspect of daily life is arranged by someone else (zero autonomy in a social sense)
3 Prison Hierarchy Inmates develop their own language (argot/jargon) Inmates create their own economy in the absence of money (which can buy goods for trade)Food, contraband, sexual favors etc…Inmates establish methods of determining power and their own social worldAccording to most academic reports the list looks something like this:High minded robbery (heist/financial) drug offenses murder petty theft assault (domestic) rape/incest offenses pedophiles and snitches law enforcement
5 2. Instant CoffeeCost $3.35 per 4-ounce bagLimit 3 per weekUse Getting buzzed cheaply.Value Prisons just say no to drugs, so caffeine is the licit stimulant of choice.3. Postage StampsCost $8.80 for 20 stampsLimit 3 books per weekUse Paying off large gambling debts or buying protection quickly.Value High price-to-size ratio; easy to conceal. Without access, snail mail is king.4. Combination LockCost $6.50 and upLimit 1Use Keeping stuff secure. Plus, you can put it inside a sock to make a weapon.Value Let’s just say it’s worth a heck of a lot more than a pack of cigarettes if someone needs one in a pinch.
10 Free Write: Reflection What do you think about the prison economy?Do you think there is a solution to the underground market for things?What are your thoughts on the “Fresh Out Series: Prison Talk Channel on YouTube” and the survival guides?How does the existence of these videos and publications effect/impact this problem within prisons?
11 Do Now Read Articles Discuss with a partner for two minutes… Discuss as class.
13 An Aging PopulationThe most significant change in the prison population involves ageWhile the majority of inmates are under the age of 34, the number of inmates over 55 has more than doubled since the mid-1990sSeveral factors have contributed to this upsurge, include “get tough on crime” measures (three strikes, mandatory sentencing, the War on Drugs)Almost 250,000 federal and state prisoners are currently said to be classified as 'aging' or 'elderly'The costs of confining older prisoners are around double that of the average younger inmate at $80,000 per yearThree-strike laws and life-without-parole became popular ways to keep felons in jail, causing soar in prison numbers
14 Nathan Brown is one of the oldest prisoners at Rhode Island's John J Nathan Brown is one of the oldest prisoners at Rhode Island's John J. Moran Medium Security Prison at 75. He is serving 55 years for sexual assault. Brown insists that he didn't commit the offence he was jailed for and refuses to undertake a sexual rehabilitation course to be eligible for parole.
15 An Ailing PopulationOlder inmates are likely to suffer from medical concerns (very costly to taxpayer)The death rate of inmates dying from poor health has increased by 82 percent between 1991 and 2004More than 40% suffer from at least one illnessApprox. 50% suffer from mental illnesses (DSM V)In sum: corrections budgets are straining under the costs of health care
16 In poor health: David Smith, who is 70, is currently six years into a 40 year sentence for attempted murder: this is his fifth time in state prison, he has also served two sentences in federal prison
17 now suffers from a long list of medical problems including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, diabetes and ulcers
18 John Armstrong who is 61 and is currently in the most advanced stage (stage four) of Hepatitis C, has been in and out of prison since the late 1970s
20 Compassionate Release Process by which inmates in criminal justice systems may be eligible for immediate early release on grounds of “particularly extraordinary or compelling circumstances which could not reasonably have been foreseen by the court at the time of sentencing”
24 Arriving at the GatesOn arriving at prison, each convict attends an orientation session and receives a “Resident’s Handbook”Provides information about meals and official count times, disciplinary regulations, visitation guidelines, etc.Norms and values of prison society cannot be communicated by staff or learned through the handbook
25 Prisonization Prisonization is the adaptation to the prison culture Inmate gradually understands what constitutes acceptable behavior in the institution as defined by other inmatesTwo primary areasHow prisoners change their behavior to adapt to life behind barsHow life behind bars has changed because of inmate behavior
26 Patterns of Inmate Behavior Criminals adapt by “doing time”“jailing” is establishing yourself in the power structure of prison culture“gleaning” is working to improve yourself in preparation for a return to society“disorganized” criminals exist on the fringes of prison society
28 Unit 5 Mr. Concannon Smith Prison ViolenceUnit 5Mr. Concannon Smith
29 Violence in Prison Culture In the past, prison “elders” would themselves punish any peers showing proclivity toward assaulting fellow inmatesToday, violence is used to establish prisoner hierarchy, separating the powerful from the weakOther reasons also exist for violent behaviorProvides a deterrent against being victimizedEnhances self-imageGives sexual reliefServes as a means of acquiring material goods through extortion or outright robbery
30 Deprivation Model to Blame? The Deprivation Models states that prison subcultures develop as a response to a number of deprivations that prison offers. There are 5 deprivations of prisons:LibertyGood and ServicesHeterosexual RelationshipsAutonomySecurityThese stressful and oppressive conditions often lead to aggressive behavior of inmatesViolent behavior may simply be a means of relieving tension
31 Prison Riots The concept of relative deprivation might explain rioting Kratcoski argues that since prisoners enjoy such meager privileges further deprivation can spark disorderUseem observed that the famous New Mexico prison riot erupted when additional security measures were imposed on inmatesPeter C. Kratcoski currently holds the positions of emeritus professor of sociology and justice studies at Kent State University, temporary instructor in sociology and justice studies and director of the Justice Volunteer Center at Kent State University. His areas of specialization include juvenile justice, corrections, crime prevention, and international policing.Bert Useem is Head of the Department of Sociology. He received his Ph.D. from Brandeis University in He has published two books on prison riots – one on their causes and another on strategies for their resolution. A more recent book examines the prison buildup – its causes, impact on order behind bars, and the effect on the crime rate.
33 Using Data to Make Inferences Compare the two charts (NYDC and NMCD). Which institution faces more violence?Be prepared to explain how you arrived at this conclusion.Is it valuable to compare operating expenditures with violent measures in both places? What might this tell us about change over time?What about inmate population/capacity as an indicator of violent measures? Inmate to staff ratio?What problems––if any––can you find with comparing these data sets?Is there more information about one vs. the other?Are the measurements made in different units?Problems with the data:Different units of measure for violent measures. NYC doesn’t count inmate on officer violence which may skew the data downward.NYC has a section on inmate characteristics that would be useful in comparing with NM popNo measure for NM use of force against inmates
35 The Prison Rape Phenomenon Rape occurs in prison and jails, but it is difficult to determine how widespread the problem isPrison officials are often unwilling to provide realistic figures for fear of negative publicityMost inmates are ashamed of being rape victims and refuse to report instances of sexual assault.If not ashamed they are afraid of being harmed for snitching
36 Sex Act or Violent Act (or Economic Act?) Inmates subject to rape (“punks”) are near the bottom of the prison power structureMany prisons do not offer sufficient medical treatment for rape victimsCorrections officials rarely are held responsible for inmate-on-inmate violenceShould they be held accountable?
37 PREA (2003)In 2001 Human Rights Watch released a paper, titled "No Escape: Male Rape in U.S. Prisons".The release of that paper was the single event that contributed most to the passage of Prison Rape Elimination Act two years later.The purpose of the act was to “provide for the analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape in Federal, State, and local institutions and to provide information, resources, recommendations and funding to protect individuals from prison rape.”
42 Characteristics Characteristics of female inmates Male inmates outnumber female inmates by a ratio of 9 to 1Most female inmates arelow incomeundereducatedhistory of unemploymentdisproportionately African AmericanMost have been incarcerated for a nonviolent drug or property crime
43 History of AbuseThe single factor that most distinguishes female prisoners from male prisoners is a history of physical or sexual abuse55% of female jail inmates have been abused at some point in their lives57% of women in state prisons and 40% of women in federal prisons report some form of past abuseLevels of abuse are possibly related to significant amount of drug and/or alcohol addictions, as well to mental problems that addictions can cause or exacerbate
44 The “Motherhood Problem” Drug and or alcohol use within a women’s prison often linked to depression experienced due to separation from children7 out of 10 female inmates have at least one child (under age 18)Female inmates are often housed at a great distance from their childrenSeparation can have serious consequences on the childrenChildren are likely to live with relatives or be sent to foster care
45 Violence in Women’s Prisons Women’s prisons have comparatively low levels of physical aggressionGang activity and violence does occur but at lesser ratesMost incidents involve conflicts over personal relationshipsResearch has shown that there are more episodes of petty violence in women’s prisons than in male institutions
46 Women’s Prisons The Pseudo-Family Mr. Concannon Smith
47 The Female Family Phenomenon The process of prisonization is evidentAdaptation relies on tightly knit cliques of prisoners mimicking the traditional family structureThe more experienced convicts adopt the “father” or the “mother” role, acting as a parent figure for younger, inexperienced “sons” or “daughters”Inmates choose their roles depending on appearance, personality, and backgroundPrison female families restrict sexual contact between members, relying on one another for emotional supportHomosexuality often manifests itself through the formation of a monogamous coupleWomen are not automatically labeled as homosexualLesbians are not hampered in their social-climbing efforts
51 Sanctioning Prisoners Prisoner Manuals list the types of behaviors that can result in disciplinary actionInstitutional disciplinary committee decides the sanctions for specific types of misconductSanctions include loss of privilegesMost severe sanction is solitary confinementCurrently being examined by the Senate Committee on Human Rights
52 Use of ForceFor the most part, the judicial system has not greatly restricted disciplinary actions in prisonGenerally, corrections officers are given a great deal of discretion to determine when force is warrantedWhitley v. Albers (1986)SCOTUS held that the use of force by prison officials violates inmate’s Eighth Amendment if force is unnecessaryExcessive force can be considered “necessary” if legitimate security interests of the penal institution are at stakeHudson v. McMillian (1992)SCOTUS ruled that minor injuries suffered by a convict at the hands of a correctional officer violated his rightsThe issue is not how much force was used, but how used
56 Protecting Prisoner’s Rights The 13th Amendment indicates that the inmates do not have the same guaranteed rights as other AmericansCourts have followed the spirit of the 13th through the “hands- off” doctrineUnwritten judicial policy that favors noninterference by the courts in the administration of prison and jailsHowever, SCOTUS asserts that “there is no iron curtain between the Constitution and the prisons of this country”Treatment is based on a balancing act between prisoners’ rights and the security needs of the correctional institution
57 AMENDMENT XIIISECTION 1.Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.SECTION 2.Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
58 Grounds for Legal Retribution “Deliberate Indifference”: knowing about horrid condition but doing nothing to remedy the situation.Estelle v. Gamble (1976)—Supreme Court established the “deliberate indifference” standardPrison officials violate a convict’s Eighth Amendment rights if they deliberately failed to provide him/her with necessary medical careGuarantees certain level of healthcareDefined as a standard that must be met by inmates trying to prove that their Eighth Amendment rights were violated by a correctional facility
59 “Identifiable Human Needs” Wilson v. Seiter (1991)—SCOTUS created standard for determining 8th Amendment violations that has drawn criticism from civil rights lawyersPrisoner must show that the institution has denied him or her a basic human needThe Court failed to mention any other needs besides food, warmth, or exerciseForced courts to interpret “identifiable human needs” for themselves
65 This past Christmas Eve, the state's highest court ruled that juvenile offenders can no longer be sentenced to life without parole.More startling, for some, was the court's decision to apply this ruling retroactively, meaning offenders who received life sentences as juveniles would now be eligible for parole after 15 years of imprisonment. More than 60 prisoners in Massachusetts are in this category.The family of Colleen Ritzer, a Danvers High School teacher allegedly murdered by a 14-year-old student on Oct. 22, released a statement noting their "deep sense of betrayal and anguish" with the decision.Ritzer's accused killer, Phillip Chism, has been indicted on charges of murder, aggravated rape and armed robbery but has not yet gone to trial."There will never be ‘parole' for our family's life sentence without Colleen," the Ritzer's statement reads. "If the individual charged with her horrific murder is convicted and sentenced to life in prison, he must never, ever have an opportunity for parole. Paroling such violent offenders would be more cruel and unusual punishment to victims' families and loved ones."
66 Types of ReleaseUnconditional Release: when prisoner completes the terms of sentence and no longer requires incarceration or supervisionMandatory Release: occurs when an inmate has served the maximum amount of time on the initial sentence, minus reductions for good-time creditsPardons: a form of executive clemency which forgives a convict’s criminal punishmentTemporary Release: may be allowed for inmates who exhibit qualifying behavior (low risk to society)A furlough is for a certain amount of time, usually between a day and a weekMay be granted because of family emergencyCan be particularly helpful for an inmate who is nearing release and can use them to ease the readjustment period
67 Eligibility for Parole Under indeterminate sentencing, parole is not a right but a privilegeGreenholtz v. Inmates of the Nebraska Penal and Correctional Complex (1979)—SCOTUS ruled that inmates do not have a constitutionally protected right to expect parole, (states set their own standards)A convict does not “apply” for paroleInmate’s case automatically comes up before the parole board a certain number of days before he or she is eligible for paroleDate of eligibility depends on statutory requirements, terms of the sentence, and the behavior of the inmate in prison“Life without Parole” is common punishment for capital offenders or “3 strike” violators.
68 The Parole BoardResponsible for answering the question of when an offender should be releasedThe Parole Board has four basic rolesTo decide which offenders should be placed on paroleTo determine the conditions of parole and aid in the continuing supervision of the paroleeTo discharge the offender when the conditions of parole have been metIf a violation occurs, to determine whether privileges should be revokedComposition of parole boardMost are made up of five to seven membersIn many jurisdictions, terms are limited to between four and six yearsRequirements varyHalf the states have no prerequisitesSome states require a bachelors degreeSome states require some expertise in criminal justice field
70 Reentry into SocietyThis concept has come to mean many things to many peopleIt is defined as encompassing “all activities and programming conducted to prepare ex-convicts to return safely to the community and to live as law abiding citizens”The largest obstacle is the difference between life behind bars and life on the outside (overcoming prisonization)Prison environment insulates inmatesHousing can be difficult to secureA convict’s criminal past limits his or her ability to find employment
71 Reentry into SocietyEconomic barriers can be complicated by the physical and mental conditions of the freed convictThe goal of reentry is to promote desistance, a general term used to describe the continued abstinence from offending and the reintroduction of offenders into societyWork release programs allow prisoners who are nearing the end of their sentences to find work out in the communityInmates on work release must return to the facility at night or live in community residential facilities known as halfway houses
76 3 Reasons “Columbia Students are totally cool with cop killer professor.” It is a private schoolYou are not forced to take her course offeringsShe is qualified to teach the subject matter she is teaching
80 Barriers to Successful Reentry Studies show benefits of reentry programs but sex offenders typically are denied access to these programsThe return of sex offenders to the community causes a great deal of anxietyALL 50 states and the federal government have their own version of Megan’s Law, a sex offender notification law requiring local law authorities to alert the public when a sex offender has been releasedNo two laws have the exact same provisions
81 Vigilant TrackingIn general, the laws require sex offenders to notify officials when they take up residence in a stateTwo main models for how to track and warnUnder the active model, authorities directly notify members of the communityUnder the passive model, information regarding sex offenders is made available to the public, but citizens must access itMassachusetts has SORI (Sex Offender Registry Information) data available online.
82 Who is Allowed to See this Data? Level 1: The public is not allowed to see information about unclassified and Level 1 offenders. The information can, however, be released to the Department of Corrections, police departments, parole boards, the Department of Youth Services, the FBI, and other similar law enforcement agencies and departmentsLevel 2 and Level 3: Adults 18 or older can request information about Level 2 and Level 3 offenders for their own protection, for the protection of a child, or for the protection of other adults for whom they have responsibility, care, or custody. The request can be made in person at the local police station, or by mail to the Sex Offender Registry Board.Level 3: Police departments are required to actively notify community organizations and members of the public who are likely to encounter Level 3 sex offenders. Information about Level 3 sex offenders is also available online using the Level 3 Sex Offender Search Form.It is against the law to use Sex Offender Registry information to commit a crime against a sex offender, or for illegal discrimination or harassment of a sex offender.
83 Special Conditions of Release Generally, sex offenders are supervised by parole officers and are subject to the same revocation threat as othersParoled child molesters have additional conditions of releaseNo contact with children under 16Continued psychiatric treatmentNo change of residence without permissionKeeping distance from schools or parks where children congregateCannot possess toys that might lure childrenCannot obtain jobs or participate in activities that involve interaction with children