Sociology Index


Prison Subculture is the culture of prison society and thought by some to arise from the ‘pains of imprisonment’, while others believe it is imported to the prison. Prison Subculture is also known as the ‘convict code’. The Prisonization model postulates that inmates react or adapt to the deprivations of imprisonment by forming the inmate subculture and behaving accordingly.

Subculture refers to group that shares common values, norms, beliefs and Prison subculture refers to inmate code. The process of taking on norms and customs of prisons is called prisonization. Some of the features of prison subculture are:

a)    do not inform on your fellow prisoners,

b)    do not trust staff,

c)    help other residents,

d)    show your loyalty to other residents,

e)    share what you have.

The first models of the prison subculture were rooted in the structuralism-functionalism paradigm of criminological thought. The importation model developed by Irwin theorize that the subculture of prison may not be centered around common norms and values. Does integration have theoretical explanatory power when examining the contemporary prison subculture? Theoretical Studies of the Prison Subculture: Contemporary Explanations for Female Inmates. - Courtney A. Waid, Florida State University.

Inmate Argot as an Expression of Prison Subculture: The Israeli Case - Tomer Einat, Haim Einat, Hebrew University of Jerusalem - The study examines the jargon of prisoners as a reflection of the norms and values comprising the inmate subculture in Israeli prisons. The phenomenological interview method was used to examine the language of prisoners for the existence of an inmate argot or jargon.

Prison Subculture in Poland - Marek M. Kamiski, Don C. Gibbons - Some of the major ingredients of the prison subculture in that Poland. The prisonization processes and the norms of the grypsing group.

The post-soviet prison subculture shows the connection between the establishment of new informal rules in prisons and changes in the means of submission.

Forecasting Sexual Abuse in Prison: The Prison Subculture of Masculinity as a Backdrop for "Deliberate Indifference" - Christopher D. Man, John P. Cronan - Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (1973-), Vol. 92, No. 1/2 (Autumn, 2001 - Winter, 2002),

Intraprison HIV Transmission and the Prison Subculture - Christopher P. Krebs, Research Triangle Institute - Two theoretical models have been employed to explain the prison subculture and inmate behavior. Theoretical integration has its place in explaining the universe of inmate behavior and the prison subculture.