CRM 2306 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Learned Helplessness

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Lecture 5
Importation model  inmate society shaped by external forces
-Norms and values of perpetrator = norms and values of prisoner
-Values favouring criminality
Prisoners as Tabula Rasa?
Irwin and Cressey (1962) criticized Sykes. They say that prisoners are not blank slates. Prisoner
behaviour and attitudes that govern prisoner interaction inside the prison also govern outside
the prison as well.
Three different types of subculture according to Irwin and Cressey:
-Thief-criminal subculture: good men, men who are more trust worthy of others, “real men”,
people who will do their own time, do right by other inmates. These prisoners are not
interested in being involved in prison subculture.
-Convict-prison subculture: the ends justifying the means (utilitarianism). These individuals are
going to use manipulation, aggression etc to get what they want. Attempting to achieve status
in the prison subculture.
-Legitimate subculture: Not interested in the acceptance of other prisoners, individuals who fall
into neither of the other categories. “accidental prisoners”. People who want to do their time
as legitimate and away as possible. Ex. People convicted when they were just self defending,
wrongful convictions, etc. Basically they hold middle class values.
The problem with these three different types is that it does not take into count the context of
the crime. Also we are incriminating lower class people.
Convict Identity: tweeked form of the importation model.
Irwin (1970):
-Taken for granted: prison exercises power over inmates. The people there will be impacted
which impacts their personal characteristics once they are out. Even the legitimate one who
stay away from the values of prison, they still are forced into the routine of prison which affects
them.
-General code: Vast majority will be influenced by the general code of conduct. Even the
legitimate ones.
-The regular: More sophisticated identity, more involved in the prison subculture.
-The old con: The ones that have been there a very long time and have complete convict
identities. Adapted completely to the routines and such of prison. Adjusted to life inside. These
are the ones who when they try to reintegrate into society they can’t. They have no idea how to
live outside the prison. They are the thief criminal subculture.
Incarceration as familiar/secure: (Halzie said this)
Prison as secure  imposed physical confinement (security through design because bad people
are physically confined so its safer for society), home environment (emotional security for those
who are confined because it offers familiarity)
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Document Summary

Importation model inmate society shaped by external forces. Norms and values of perpetrator = norms and values of prisoner. They say that prisoners are not blank slates. Prisoner behaviour and attitudes that govern prisoner interaction inside the prison also govern outside the prison as well. Three different types of subculture according to irwin and cressey: Thief-criminal subculture: good men, men who are more trust worthy of others, real men , people who will do their own time, do right by other inmates. These prisoners are not interested in being involved in prison subculture. Convict-prison subculture: the ends justifying the means (utilitarianism). These individuals are going to use manipulation, aggression etc to get what they want. Attempting to achieve status in the prison subculture. Legitimate subculture: not interested in the acceptance of other prisoners, individuals who fall into neither of the other categories. People who want to do their time as legitimate and away as possible.

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