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.
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
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
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. Prison-based therapeutic communities, on the other hand, are intended to improve
the attitudes and orientations of participants. This research examines three groups within
a single-prison community, general-population inmates,
therapeutic-community participants (TC inmates), 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
Glenn D. Walters, Federal Correctional Institution, Schuylkill, Pennsylvania
Criminal thinking and identity were assessed in 55 federal prison inmates with no prior
prison experience (novice inmates) and 93 inmates with at least one prior adult
incarceration or incapacitation and 5 or more years in
prison (experienced inmates). Changes on the Self-Assertion/Deception scale of the
Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Syles (PICTS) and Centrality subscale of the
Social Identity as a Criminal(SIC) 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, Department of Sociology, 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. A more
recent approach, 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,
David M. Petersen, Department of Sociology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia
Robin J. Cage, Bowling Green State University, Bowling, Green, Kentucky 42101
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 prisons boundaries. This article draws on field observations in
the visitor waiting area at Californias San Quentin State Prison and interviews with
fifty women whose partners are incarcerated to illuminate one facet of the regulation and
distortion of womens 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 Sykess 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