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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 168127 Find in a Library
Title: What the Eyes Can't See: Stories from Rio de Janeiro's Prisons (From Birth of the Penitentiary in Latin America: Essays on Criminology, Prison Reform, and Social Control, 1830-1940, P 101-122, 1996, Ricardo D. Salvatore and Carlos Aguirre, eds. - See NCJ-168123)
Author(s): M L Bretas
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 22
Sponsoring Agency: University of Texas Press
Austin, TX 78722
Sale Source: University of Texas Press
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P.O. Box 7819
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Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This essay analyzes how Rio de Janeiro's prisons and prison life are represented by different types of witnesses.
Abstract: The essay studies the ways journalists, lawyers, convicts and others reflect on prison and prison life, showing the multiple meanings and symbolisms associated with the institutions. By depicting prison populations as essentially made up of recidivists, true criminals and the like, these witnesses disseminated an image of the prison as a world apart, hidden from public scrutiny. This tended to alleviate the anxieties felt by the free population and helped to stress the importance of having the criminals behind bars. The overall result was the naturalization of the image of the "savage criminal," a notion shared by the criminologists whose task was to decipher the intricacies of the criminal mind. Portraying criminals as unreformable ultimately offered pessimistic judgments about the overall performance of the reformed prisons. Depicting inmates as peaceful and obedient in appearance but violent and brutal in essence reinforced the pessimism of reformers on the possibilities of rehabilitation. Notes
Main Term(s): Corrections
Index Term(s): Brazil; Correctional reform; Criminology; Dangerousness; Foreign criminal justice research; History of corrections; Inmate classification; Latin America; Media coverage; Penology; Rehabilitation
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