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NCJ Number: 120313 Find in a Library
Title: Prison Guards as Agents of Social Control (From The American Prison: Issues in Research and Policy, P 191-206, 1989, Lynne Goodstein and Doris Layton MacKenzie, eds. -- See NCJ-120304)
Author(s): J R Hepburn
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: Plenum Press
New York, NY 10013
Sale Source: Plenum Press
233 Spring Street
New York, NY 10013
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter reviews the issues involved in maintaining control within American prisons and assesses the likelihood that social control can be maintained or enhanced by a broad redefinition of prison guard duties.
Abstract: Locked into a relationship of structured conflict with inmates and dependent on inmates for both their personal safety and their occupational success, prison guards must rely on formal and informal controls to ensure predictability and order with the prison. Historically, the formal structure of social control within American prisons has provided guards with a great deal of power over inmates. Bureaucratic and legal reforms in American prisons, however, have altered the formal structure of control. Coercive and reward power are now inconsistent with the prison administration's new values and goals, and guards who have relied on these power bases for inmate compliance are experiencing a loss of control. There is also an informal structure of social control, which is shaped by the dependency relationship between guards and inmates. The two primary means of informal social control are repression and the development of working agreements between guards and inmates to assist in meeting one another's needs. Informal social control, however, must be enhanced by a formal structure for guard duties that enhances control and job satisfaction. Some propose that defining the guard's job as service delivery will provide such enhancement. This is likely, however, to create role ambiguity and conflict between security and treatment responsibilities. 46 references.
Main Term(s): Correctional Officers
Index Term(s): Prison management; Social control; Work attitudes
Note: From Volume 4 in the Law, Society, and Policy series.
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