skip navigation


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: 184496 Find in a Library
Title: "Society of Captives" in the Era of Hyper-Incarceration
Journal: Theoretical Criminology  Volume:4  Issue:3  Dated:August 2000  Pages:285-308
Author(s): Jonathan Simon
Date Published: August 2000
Page Count: 24
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the social order of United States prisons.
Abstract: The U.S. prison population is now more than 2 million, an unprecedented size, but attention to and concern with the social order inside U.S. prisons has declined. Fundamental weaknesses in prison sociology are evident in increasingly ungovernable prisons. Discussion of the “society of captives” in the era of hyper-incarceration raises two questions of priority interest. First, how has inmate society changed under conditions where prison populations have experienced extraordinary growth and prison management has undergone wholesale rearrangement of mission and ideology? Second, how has the status of inmate society or community as an object of power and knowledge changed? The article notes that inmate society, represented centrally in the discourses of both prison sociology and prison literature, seems to be disappearing from public view. There are certain features of contemporary penology that suggest a valorization of popular knowledge, but there is also a significant dependence on new kinds of expertise including risk prediction, accounting and systems engineering. It is important to reconstitute sources of knowledge that can make prison social order more visible to a public whose infatuation with incarceration depends on deep ignorance as to its fundamental effects. Notes, references
Main Term(s): Corrections
Index Term(s): Correctional reform; Criminology; Incarceration; Literature reviews; Penology; Prison climate; Prison conditions; Prison management; Sociology
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*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.