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
c) help other
d) show your
loyalty to other residents,
e) share what
The first models of the prison
subculture, such as those purported by Clemmer and Sykes, were rooted in the
structural-functionalist paradigm of criminological thought. Alternative explanations,
such as the importation model developed by Irwin theorize that the subculture of prison
may not be centered around common norms and values. Recent attempts have been made to
integrate these perspectives. Does integration have theoretical explanatory power when
examining the contemporary prison subculture? Can an integrated approach inform
penologists as to how females serve time? The present paper seeks to answer these
questions. - 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 argot (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 a
sample of long-term prisoners for the existence of an inmate argot. Having established
that such an argot does exist, the data was subjected to a content analysis and the
salience of the argot terms assessed using two measures, attention and intensity. The
argot expressions were divided into categories with reference to different aspects of
prison experience: prisoner status (informers, inmate rank), drugs, sexual relations in
prison, violence, prisoner behaviors, nicknames for police officers, and prison staff.
Prison Subculture in Poland - Marek M. Kamiski, Don C.
Gibbons - This article draws on the prison experiences in Poland of the senior author
to identify some of the major ingredients of the prison subculture in that country. The
dominant inmate pattern of grypsing is described, as is the physical environment of Polish
prisons. This article also examines "prisonization" processes and the norms of
the grypsing group. Some contrasts between American and Polish prisons are also noted.
The (post)-soviet prison subculture faced with the use of self-management doctrines by the
corrections administration - This article on the post-soviet prison subculture shows the
connection between the establishment of new informal rules in prisons and changes in the
means of submission used by penitentiary institutions under Khrushchev, as well as the
influence of the main principles of Anton Makarenkos collective pedagogics on the
above-mentioned means. Analytically, the article is focussed on different forms of the
public sphere which can exist in prison environments. Special emphasis is laid on the
importance of the historical approach in understanding the present situation in
post-soviet penitentiaries. - Abstract
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. Prisonization model postulates that inmates
react/adapt to the deprivations of imprisonment by forming the inmate subculture and
behaving accordingly. Importation model contends that inmates import their social system
with them when they enter prison. While these models have traditionally competed for
support, a number of researchers have called for theoretical integration and have
successfully documented its appropriateness. In this study of intraprison HIV
transmission, the theoretical models are tested in the context of behaviors that
facilitate HIV transmission in prison, namely, sex, intravenous drug use, and tatooing.
Support for prisonization and importation, however, is not uniformly distributed across
all three high-risk behaviors. While both models explain high-risk HIV transmission
behavior in general, certain behaviors are explained largely by individual models. Prison
sex appears to be largely the result of prisonization (deprivation of heterosexual
relationships), whereas intravenous drug use seems to be largely a product of importation.
While theoretical integration has its place in explaining the universe of inmate behavior
and the prison subculture, wholesale integration may not be necessary when attempting to
explain specific behaviors.