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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 113846 Find in a Library
Title: Reproduction of Social Control: A Study of Prison Workers at San Quentin
Author(s): B A Owen
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 168
Sponsoring Agency: Praeger Publishers
Westport, CT 06881
Publication Number: ISBN 0-275-92818-7
Sale Source: Praeger Publishers
88 Post Road West
Westport, CT 06881
United States of America
Type: Survey
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on interviews with 125 prison workers and participant observation in San Quentin, Calif., this indepth study examines the reproduction of social control as it exists in the meanings, actions, and relationships of those charged with prison security and custody.
Abstract: As agents of social control, correctional workers occupy a reflexive role in the structure of the prison. Therefore, they develop a system of meanings and relations that approximates the contours of this world. As workers become socialized into the prison community, they learn the culture of social control and its surrounding meaning-systems. These meanings and relations are derived from interactions on the shop floor with inmates, administrators, and coworkers, as well as from conflicts of interests specific to the prison. For workers, social control is negotiated and problematic. Negotiation occurs among actors within the institutional context, often wielding unequal power within these contexts. The process of negotiation is itself a combination of power, interaction, and meaning. Additionally, workers' worldviews are shaped by a notion of and belief in duty that provide a general solution to the contradictions of meaning and social structure within the prison. Finally, workers who successfully reconcile job conflicts develop an uncommon 'common sense' that is built up through day-to-day experience and interaction and is the discursive worldview of the correctional worker. It is this common sense that is the basis for conflict between prison workers. The essence of this common sense appears to be a shared penetration into the reproductive mechanisms of social control. A literature review is appended. Index and approximately 200 references.
Main Term(s): Correctional personnel attitudes
Index Term(s): Informal social control; Inmate staff relations; Prison climate
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