Sociology Index


Books on Prisonization, Prison Subculture

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. Prisonization or prison socialization, has been recognized as a process with goals that are antithetical to the reintegration of ex-offenders. 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.

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, friendship, and leadership by John A Slosar

Forecasting sexual abuse in prison: the prison subculture of masculinity as a backdrop for deliberate indifference. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology - Christopher D. Man, John P. Cronan

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 TC 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, Federal Correctional Institution, Schuylkill, Pennsylvania.
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 and a priori predictions that measures of criminal thinking and identity would rise in novice inmates between initial assessment and follow-up but would remain stable in experienced inmates. On the other hand, experienced inmates recorded significant gains on the In-Group Affect subscale of the SIC. Incarceration, it would seem, may promote prisonization in both novice and experienced inmates.

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 general intent of the larger study of which this essay is a part was to test the viability of two available explanations of the impact of confinement. One of these models, often referred to as the deprivation model, provides a restrictive perspective by virtue of its unusually heavy emphasis on intra-institutional processes and influences. The importation model, accepts the importance of such intra-institutional variables, but also points to the importance of variables that originate outside the context of the prison and, in many cases, cannot be directly manipulated by correctional officials. 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.

A Comparative Organizational Analysis of Prisonization 
Charles W. Thomas, Department of Criminal Justice, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
David M. Petersen, Department of Sociology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia.
Robin J. Cage, Bowling Green State University, Bowling, Green, Kentucky.
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 both short- 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. Despite the ability of the model to predict attitudes which arguably encourage antisocial behavior, longitudinal data are clearly necessary to adequately test any model which attempts to predict post release behavior.

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. Based on observations made in psychotherapy, this article presents unconscious motivations common to chronic offenders. Specifically, the article describes a primary psychological defense of antisocial personalities which splits perception of social reality into two components, one affectionate and one aggressive. Penitentiary operations inadvertently validate this pathological perspective. The article suggests that the uniquely supportive matching of the penitentiary environment with pathological aspects of the antisocial personality provides an unconscious, characterological appeal to many inmates, promoting expression of rebellious prisonized attitudes and increasing the chance of recidivism.

In The Tube At San Quentin 
The Secondary Prisonization of Women Visiting Inmates
Megan L. Comfort, London School of Economics and Political Science.
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. These women experience restricted rights, diminished resources, social marginalization, and other consequences of penal confinement, even though they are legally innocent and reside outside the prison's boundaries. This article draws on field observations in the visitor waiting area at California's San Quentin State Prison and interviews with fifty women whose partners are incarcerated to illuminate one facet of the regulation and distortion of women's lives that occurs due to the detainment of their family members, lovers, and friends behind bars: the experience of visiting an inmate in a correctional facility. 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.