PACS 329 Reading Notes - February 4, 2013
The Offender - Changing Lenses
Due process - protect the offender and society's rights (but not necessarily the victims).
The offender has been like a bystander throughout this process.
Prison is normative in Western society, we operate under a presumption of prison which is why
incarceration rates are so high. By international standards, we are very harsh.
In prison this offender may end up being a victim of violence himself and he will learn that
conflict is normal, that violence is the problem solver, that you need to be violent to survive, and
that one responds to frustration with anger. Sexual violence - a distant means of asserting power
over others by those who were denied legitimate forms of power or meaning, its a frustration
characteristic of prison life. Violence may become, for this offender and many others who go to
prison, a way of coping, a way of solving problems, and a way of communicating. Prison will
further strip away his sense of self worth and autonomy. For many offenders, violence is a
twisted form of self defense that is provoked by feelings of weakness and vulnerability.
The prison system is structured to dehumanize. He got in trouble because of his inability to self-
govern and take charge of his life in a legitimate way - prison will further deprive him of this
ability. Some do not give in to dehumanizing themselves and choose rather to "rebel". They
transition in to the community better. Three options: learn to obey, rebel, or become devious
(appear to conform but find ways to retain personal freedom - this leads to the prison lesson that
manipulation is normal). The convict learns to con.
During his years in prison the offender will learn to be dependent on others (the state to take care
of him). He will also absorb a warped ideal of interpersonal relationships - domination over
others will be the goa