Sociology Index

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PRISONIZATION

Prisonization or prison socialization, has been recognized as a process with goals that are antithetical to the reintegration of ex-offenders. Prisonization is the fact or process of becoming prisonized. Prisonization is the process of being socialized into the culture and social life of prison society to the extent that adjusting to the outside society becomes difficult. The concept of prisonization was used to describe how the prisoner adapts to, and internalizes aspects of, the harsh physical and social conditions of the prison environment. Since the introduction of prisonization, scholars have endeavored to explore the mechanisms by which prisonization works. Prisonization forms an informal inmate code and develops from both the individual characteristics of inmates and from institutional features of the prison. Incarceration may promote prisonization in both novice and experienced inmates. Prizonization also forms an unique prison-subculture. Two theories of prisonization, deprivation theory and importation theories have emerged just in the last few decades.

Prisonization: Individual and Institutional Factors Affecting Inmate Conduct - Wayne Gillespie. Prisonization involves the formation of an informal inmate code and develops from both individual characteristics of inmates and from institutional features of the prison. Both the individual characteristics of inmates and institutional qualities affect prisonization and misconduct. Individual-level antecedents explained prisonization better than did prison-level variables.

Prisonization or Resocialization? A Study of External Factors Associated with the Impact of Imprisonment. Charles W. Thomas, Virginia Commonwealth University. This report focuses on data obtained from 276 adult male felons who were inmates in a maximum-security penitentiary in 1971. The specific variables reported in this pa per include measures of social class of origin, social class of attainment, preprison involvement in criminality, extent of contact with the larger society during confinement, and the inmates' perceptions of their post-prison life-chances. These independent variables were correlated with a measure of prisonization.

Reducing the Intra-Institutional Effects of Prisonization - A Study of a Therapeutic Community for Drug-Using Inmates.
BARBARA J. PEAT, L. THOMAS WINFREE, Jr., New Mexico State University.
Prisonization, or prison socialization, has long been recognized as a process with goals that are antithetical to the reintegration of ex-offenders. That is, it deemphasizes and even denigrates legitimate authority and middle-class values. This research examines three groups within a single-prison community, general-population inmates, therapeutic-community participants, and inmates eligible for the Therapeutic Community wannabes in order to determine the extent to which levels of prisonization can be used to predict group membership.

Changes in Criminal Thinking and Identity in Novice and Experienced Inmates. Prisonization Revisited. Glenn D. Walters.
Criminal thinking and identity were assessed in 55 federal prison inmates with no prior prison experience and 93 inmates with at least one prior adult incarceration or incapacitation and 5 or more years in prison. Changes on the Self-Assertion/Deception scale of the Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Syles and Centrality subscale of the Social Identity as a Criminal questionnaire were congruent with the prisonization hypothesis. Incarceration, it would seem, may promote prisonization in both novice and experienced inmates.

Prisonization and Recidivism: A Psychological Perspective. Paul Hofer, United States Penitentiary, California. 
Both prisonization and criminal recidivism have been studied as if they were effects of external, generally social, influences acting on the offender. It is unlikely that satisfyingly comprehensive explanations for these phenomena can be achieved without considering internal motivational states of the antisocial personalities involved. Penitentiary operations inadvertently validate this individual pathology perspective.

A Comparative Organizational Analysis of Prisonization - Charles W. Thomas, David M. Petersen, Robin J. Cage. This research, based upon an analysis of data obtained from separate studies of three institutions for male offenders, treats variations in the impact of confinement as problematic and develops a model which conceptualizes prisonization as an independent variable that is likely to have short-term, and long-term consequences. Our findings reveal that prisonization encourages opposition to the prison, a short-term consequence of confinement. These attitudes are likely to effectively block institutional rehabilitative efforts and to increase problems of social control for the organization. This, in turn, may inhibit successful reintegration into society upon release.

In The Tube At San Quentin - The Secondary Prisonization of Women Visiting Inmates. Megan L. Comfort. Through the imprisonment of their kin and kith, mass incarceration brings millions of women, especially poor women of color, into contact with the criminal justice system. An extension of Sykes's classic analysis of the pains of imprisonment to the experiences of prison visitors suggests that women experience a form of secondary prisonization through their sustained contact with the correctional institution.

Prisonization: Individual and Institutional Factors Affecting Inmate Conduct. Wayne Gillespie. Prisonization involves the formation of an informal inmate code and develops from both the individual characteristics of inmates and from institutional features of the prison. Its explanation involves indigenous influence theory and cultural drift theory. Gillespie's exploration of these theories is based on data from questionnaires given to over 1,000 prisoners in 30 prisons throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio. Results indicate that both the individual characteristics of inmates and institutional qualities affect prisonization and misconduct, but the institutional factors are weak predictors of behavior.

The Prisonization of America's Public Schools. Maryam Ahranjani.
Abstract: Over the past generation, episodes of mass school violence in American public schools have led to the “prisonization” of schools. The problems associated with prisonization practices have been identified and well-documented in the legal literature over the past few years, and they include the school-to-prison pipeline. While national attention has turned to the lack of rigorous research on the effectiveness of prisonization practices, and studies are underway to identify whether prisonization practices are effective deterrents to crime in around schools and the effects on school climate, gaps in a full picture of this alarming trend exist. First, the piece coins the term prisonization to describe the practices that reflect our tragic willingness to value security over individual rights despite the reality that school violence is relatively rare but also there is no evidence at this time to support the likelihood that prisonization practices actually diminish school violence. Second, the piece argues that America should abandon the prisonization of public schools in favor of more effective methods to prevent school violence.