Write a 3 (full) page (double spaced) response to it. Give credit to your source. For example, use the text book as your primary source, and write “According to Hanser (p. 100), jail suicides…” or you would say “Jail suicides can be prevented …. (Hanser p. 100)”. Do not use outside sources as primary information. In part, the purpose of this exercise is to show me that you completed the reading assignment and are able to comprehend the material.
If the question option you choose tends to ask for an opinion, your opinion alone will not be satisfactory. You must support the opinion with facts and/or the other side of the argument and cite the page numbers in your answer.
The assignments– Discuss prison subculture and prison gangs
Book to be used: Interactive: Introduction to Corrections Interactive eBook
By: Robert D. Hanser
SAGE Publications, Inc
Prison Subculture and Prison Gangs
Prison is considered to be a form of total institution which is enclosed in an area where the residents share all parts of their daily lives. Generally, there is no activity in day that is undertaken privately and separately from the rest of the prison population. The prisons operate as small societies based to the facts that the inmates form their own customs, beliefs, value systems and lifestyles. The prison subculture involves the customs, beliefs, attitudes, values and lifestyles of the prison inmates within a particular prison. There also exist a different subculture and socialization process for the prison staff members. The staff subculture is influenced by the control and custody. The staff are influenced to adopt customs and attitudes that help in asserting the positional role and defend against potential inmate threats. The exchange of beliefs by security staff and the inmates creates a unique subculture that results from the unique fusion of the two groups.
When new inmates get in prison, they must adopt to a new way of life as the prison subculture is unique in prisons. New inmates undergo prisonization to learn the prison subculture and adopt faster. The process involves the learning of different statutes and the roles played by different inmates. The subculture is formed according to formal organization used in prisons by prison staff. However, the heavy influence from the informal organization affects the categorization of inmates. It is important to understand the hierarchy and status influence the core of the prison subculture.
The correctional staff living within the prison environment learn the personalities of the inmates and familiarize with the statutes each is accorded by other inmates. In turn, the inmates grow to understand the usual correctional officer that work within a cell block and the dormitory as well as other areas that inmates congregate. The inmates often react impressions of each officer to understand the reaction of the officer. The inmates label then officer over time, in a way that they show respect or show contempt. In terms of the ability to enforce the rules, some officers are termed as weak and passive. Such officers get exploited by streetwise convicts and conned. Generally, the different officer-inmate interactions impact the daily experiences of individuals involved.
According to Hanser, pg. 638, there are two theories to explain the nature of prison subcultures; the importation theory and indigenous prison culture and exportation theory. The importation theory explains that the subculture within the prisons is considered to be introduced from the outside walls by the inmates with the beliefs and norms they developed while on the streets. It summarizes that the prison subculture reflects the individual’s subculture on the outside of the prison walls.
The behavior of an individual that is respected outside the walls of prisons are behaviors that earn respect within the inmate’s population inside the walls of the prisons. In the cases where the correctional officers know the background of the offender which impacts how the person behaves outside and inside the prison. Opposing issues of the importation theory involves the socialization process outside of prison and the prison environment are intense and traumatic which influence a person in a relatively short period of time. Visitation schedules, work opportunities outside prison and other programming alleviate the impacts of the prison environment.
The theory of indigenous prison culture and exportation is the understanding that prison subculture is a product of socialization that occurs inside prison and incorporates the inconveniences and deprivations that occur from the result of incarceration. Inmates within the prison environment creates value systems and engagement in behaviors that ease the pains of deprivation.
Prison gangs is a form of subculture within the prison subculture. An example given by Hanser, pg. 687, blood in, blood out that an order for inmates to be accepted within a prison gang. There are codes that states to join a prison gang and be accepted, one must draw blood which is a phrase for killing. That involves a form of altercation with an identified enemy of the gang. In order to exist the prison gang is also required that a person must draw blood of an enemy as per the demands of gang. The other option to leave a prison gang is to lose one’s life.
From the understanding of Hanser, pg.689, the prison economy plays a key role in determining the influence of an inmate within the institution. The more resource an inmate can obtain under his control, the stronger among other inmates. Prison gangs formed may also obtained more resources that allow them to negotiate the prison economy. As a result, they have more influence within the prison subculture and more adapted to the prison culture through the influence of indigenous prison cultural factors. When an individual or a prison gang controls and master the economy there have more power to effectively initiate contact between the inside and outside of the prison as indicated by Hanser, pg. 689.
Hanser, R. D. (2018). Introduction to Corrections. SAGE Publications.