Penology Lecture 5 --> Peer Support in Prison

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  • Peer Support in Prison
    • Sykes: The Society of Captives
      • regarded the prison as emblematic of systems of domination, such as concentration camps and labour colonies
      • argued that the aspect of 'total dominance' over prisoners was false
        • prisoners lack an 'internal sense of duty' to follow rules
      • against the use of force - 'inefficient and dangerous'
      • rewards and punishments are not effective
      • difficult for POs to maintain formal boundaries with prisoners
        • POs would sometimes ignore minor infractions just to keep the peace elsewhere
      • inmate code
        • helped to alleviate the pains of imprisonment
        • sense of uniformity among prisoners was an 'ideal', not a description
      • 'argot roles'
        • 'merchants', 'rats', 'gorillas'
        • 'real man' prisoner - acted at intermediaries between prisoners and POs
      • issues
        • rewards and punishments DO motivate prisoners
        • prisoners do not lack of 'inner moral compulsion to obey', - depends on how treatment is delivered
        • physical force can creaet controlled regimes tho not ideal
    • Goffman: Asylums
      • total institution - large numbers of people in a closed setting become autonomous from the outside world
      • instead of being overwhelmed by prison, many sought some control over the environment ? individual not collective adaptation to prison
      • 'role *********' - how new people are greeted
    • Irwin and Cressey
      • regarded inmate culture as the outcome of three distinctive subcultures imported into the penal institution
        • thief culture - professional and serious criminals
        • convict subculture - later labelled 'state-raised youth'
        • legitimate values held by 'straight' prisoners who act in accordance to rules
    • Mathiesen, 1965
      • Nordic establishments: a prisoner community with little cohesive behaviour, little faith in the effectiveness of norms promoting solidarity, a flat inmate hierarchy, no apparent ban on contact with prison staff, and no ‘honourable’ inmate identity
    • Jacobs: Stateville
      • found a prisoner community that was fragmented into mutually antagonistic, ethnically defined gangs, with codes of loyalty that stretched little beyond in-group members
      • collective identity of the gang reduced pains of imprisonment
    • Merton
      • retreatism
        • some use good or maladaptive was of coping (eg. education VS drug use)
      • rebellion
        • esp in high-security prisons. can be via escapes, prison language etc
      • conformity
        • people seeking change through self-improvement programmes
      • innovators
        • accepting objectives but rejecting institutional means of attaining them
    • Prison Life
      • some prisoners are forced to take up the 'feminine' role - housekeeping etc
      • PL breeds hypermasculinity -  taking men who already lack conventional means of establishing masculine status, besieging them with further threats to their gender identities, and encourage anxiety about weakness and dependency through the hardening of stereotypical male traits
      • female prisons tend not to be as tense and predatory
      • prisoner grievances with  administrative confusion and disorganization can cause riots


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