CRJ 106 Chapter 8: Prisons
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Department
Criminal Justice
Course
CRJ 106
Professor
Jennifer Lanterman
Semester
Spring

Description
Criminal Justice 106 (Dr. Jennifer Lanterman) Yellow = Important Concepts Green = People Blue = Important Events/Works Chapter 8: Prisons Introduction: The State of Prisons  Reconsideration of the drug war: recreational and medical marijuana becoming legalized in some states  Corrections experience shaped by shortages Prison Organizations Classification  Women and children classified in separate facilities from adult males  Assessment includes review of materials related to inmate and tests and observation regarding their dangerousness and amenability to treatment  Generally have no control over which prison they are sent to o Can request to move closer to family/friends after a period of time  Reserved for males, as more resources are available because of the abundance of them in prison Prison Types and Levels  Prisons – correctional facilities used for long-term and convicted offenders  Super maximum, maximum, medium, and minimum (prison levels)  Regular confinement facilities, prison farms and hospitals, boot camps, reception centers, community corrections facilities, etc. (prison types)  1,821 state/federal prisons in the U.S. o 1/5 of prisons are designated as maximum security and holds 1/3 of all incarcerated inmates o ¼ of prisons are designated medium security and holds 2/5 of all incarcerated inmates Supermax Prisons  Supermax (super maximum security) prisons – high-security prisons that hold those who are violent or disruptive in other prisons in the state or federal system st o 1 developed – Alcatraz Prison (1934), then closed in 1963  Others argue supermaxes didn’t develop until 1980s for “getting tough on crime” o Inmates confined to windowless cells 23 hours a day, except for showers 3 times a week and solo exercise time a couple times a week  Eat nutraloaf in their cell; physical contact prohibited unless inmates are in restraints o Held most dangerous offenders, violent gang members, those who cannot behave well in lower-security prisons, and those who pose an escape risk o Expensive ($50,000 per year for incarceration; 2-3 times more expensive to build than a “regular” prison) Criminal Justice 106 (Dr. Jennifer Lanterman) Yellow = Important Concepts Green = People Blue = Important Events/Works o Evidence to support that supermaxes impairs mental health because of sensory deprivation  Also evidence that supermaxes are sometimes used to incarcerate those who are merely mentally ill or who have committed more minor infractions  Leads to self-fulfilling prophecy of developing behavioral problems  Evidence that incarceration there had a calming effect on inmates Maximums, Mediums, and Minimums  Maximum security prisons – both external and internal security are high; programs and contact with other prisoners/visitors are very limited o Death row is located here o May have some access to the yard, cafeteria, and chapel  Medium security prisons – high external security, but less restrictive internal security and more opportunities for programs o Greater diversity in rooming options o Visiting and contact with the outside world are less restricted o Like a college campus, has several buildings devoted to distinct purposes o Heavily engaged in industrial work  Minimum security prisons – relaxed external/internal security created for lower- level felony offenders who aren’t expected to be an escape/behavioral problem o Lot of programming opportunities o Housing options very diverse o Visiting options are more liberalized to make transition from prison to the community smoother o “Short timers” or people that are close to their release date Prison Value?  Expenses vs. achieving retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, etc. o $20,000 per year for adult males and more than double that for women and children o Incapacitation is related to reduced criminality in the range of 3-6 crimes per year for some criminals Attributes of the Prison That Shape the Experience Total Institutions, Mortification, Importation, Prisonization  Total institution – “a place of residence and work where a large number of like- situated individuals, cut off from the wider society for an appreciable period of time, together lead an enclosed, formally administered round of life” (Erving Goffman) o Staff > inmates Criminal Justice 106 (Dr. Jennifer Lanterman) Yellow = Important Concepts Green = People Blue = Important Events/Works  “Social mobility between the two strata is grossly restricted; social distance is typically great and often formally prescribed” (Goffman) o Mortification – inmates enter the prison and they suffer from the loss of the many roles they occupied in the wider world  Role of “inmate”; powerless and dependent o Importation – inmates bring aspects of the larger culture into the prison o Prisonization – adopting of the inmate subculture by inmates Pains of Imprisonment  Pains of imprisonment (Gresham Sykes) – deprivation of liberty, goods and services, sexual relations, autonomy, and security o Deprivation of liberty – inmates are cut off from society; cannot roam freely o Deprivation of goods and services – surrendering all property…forever; limited possessions o Deprivation of sexual relations – touching is only minimally sanctioned; sexual intimacy prohibited o Deprivation of autonomy – very few choices inmates can make on their own o Deprivation of security – “the worst thing about prison is you have to live with other prisoners”; can lead to anxiety  Sykes argued that these pains can destroy the psyche of the inmate o Inmates avoid this destruction by adopting deviant behaviors to relieve this pain  Sykes didn’t believe that all inmates experienced/perceived these pains in the same way The Prison Subculture  Prison subculture – norms, values, beliefs, and language of the prison o The longer inmates are in an institution and the more “total” the institution is in its restrictions on liberty and contact, the more subjected inmates are to the pains of imprisonment and the more likely they will adopt the inmate subculture o “Criminals should not betray each other to the police, should be reliable, wily but trustworthy, coolheaded, etc.” (Clemmer, 1940) o Ultra masculinity, displays of toughness, solidarity among inmates and against staff o Clemmer and Owen found that some male/female inmates weren’t interested in the convict subculture; holding on to the larger culture (called “square johns”)  Research has shown that many inmates identify with free world values o Other researchers found that staff and inmates engage in more personal and informal relationships with each other than is formally acknowledged o Certain places allow a wider range of emotions (chapel, classrooms, etc.) Criminal Justice 106 (Dr. Jennifer Lanterman) Yellow = Important Concepts Green = People Blue = Important Events/Works Gangs and the Prison Subculture  Gangs – groups of people with similar interests who socialize together and who may engage in deviant or criminal activities; have a hierarchical organizational structure and a set code of conduct for members o Provides protection in numbers from potential threats o Conduits for the supply of illicit goods (tobacco, alcohol, etc.) o Provide some substitution for family relationships and friendships  “Stauch-Gang” present in New Jersey State Prison (1830) o Importation and exportation of gang-related criminal activity in 1920s o Numerous gangs today; common criminal focus  Recruit membership based on ethnicity or race  Gangs more prevalent in male prisons  Will conspire with other gangs, even rivals, to provide protection and
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