Prisoners in Prison Societies

1st Edition

Ulla Bondeson

Published May 15, 2011
Reference - 382 Pages
ISBN 9781412842358 - CAT# Y353159

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Prisoners in Prison Societies is a study of criminal career patterns over time, demonstrating specifically how and in what ways imprisonment has a positive correlation with later recidivism. The book combines original research and a ten-year follow-up study of Swedish inmates, surveying their attitudes on everything from political ideology to prison reform. The work is much more than a survey of prisoner attitudes, however; it also includes official statements and administrative staff assessments at the institutions examined. As a result, the text avoids the usual special pleading of criminological writings.Prisoners in Prison Societies analyzes thirteen correctional institutions, ranging from training schools to youth and adult prisons as well as a preventive detention facility. These four types cover representative samples of male and female, young and old offenders. In individual and group interviews, conducted with a time interval, the author finds that the form of incarceration is less significant in determining prisoner behavior than the fact of incarceration as such. Whether one looks at the data across variables or in longitudinal terms, the fact of criminalization rather than the goal of rehabilitation creates conditions of permanent incarceration.A leitmotif of the book is comparison of penal institutions and policies in the U.S. and Sweden, with an encyclopedic presentation of the sociological and criminological literature. From the American tradition, Bondeson distinguishes between program research and sanction research. Her notion of prisonization, as a special form of socialization, derives from the work of scholars from Clemmer to Goffman. Her work utilizes notions of informal social systems within formal systems, especially how the former preempt the latter. The interplay of original research at the prison level, coupled with a sweeping command of the basic literature, makes this book unique.


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