skip navigation

PUBLICATIONS

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

 

NCJ Number: 119633 Find in a Library
Title: "Cradled on the Sea": Positive Images of Prison and Theories of Punishment
Journal: California Law Review  Volume:76  Issue:6  Dated:(December 1988)  Pages:1202-1247
Author(s): M G Duncan
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 46
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This interdisciplinary study investigates the meanings of incarceration through an analysis of prison memoirs and novels.
Abstract: It argues that many prisoners and nonprisoners exhibit powerful positive associations with penal confinement, and draws on psychoanalysis, philosophy, and sociology to account for the various sources of attraction that prison exerts. These sources include psychological processes such as institutional transference and oral fixation, cultural archetypes such as the dialectically related polarities of death and rebirth, and sociopolitical factors such as negative aspects of life in freedom. The study considers interrelationships between the analysis of positive images of prison and punishment goals (rehabilitation, deterrence, and retribution). The author contends that the risk of imprisonment for an appreciable number of criminals is actually an inducement rather than a deterrent to crime. She further suggests that the lack of political will to improve prison conditions may stem from the largely unconscious attractiveness of penal confinement to the general population. That is, deprivation of freedom is seen as an insufficient punishment for crime; hence, prisons must be allowed to remain places of physical and psychological brutality. Images of prison as a desirable place reflect actual negative aspects of life in the world outside. More basically, however, these images represent an expression of human beings' essentially psychological and mythopoeic nature and of their tendency to transcend immediate circumstances. 210 references.
Main Term(s): Prison climate
Index Term(s): Inmate attitudes; Psychological theories; Punishment; Sociological analyses
Note: Earlier version of article presented at an Emory Law Faculty Colloquium.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=119633

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.