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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 211247 
Title: Codes and Conventions: The Terms and Conditions of Contemporary Inmate Values (From The Effects of Imprisonment, P 177-208, 2005, Alison Liebling and Shadd Maruna, eds. -- See NCJ-211241)
Author(s): Ben Crewe
Date Published: 2005
Page Count: 32
Sponsoring Agency: Willan Publishing
Portland, OR 97213-3644
Sale Source: Willan Publishing
c/o ISBS, 5804 N.E. Hassalo Street
Portland, OR 97213-3644
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Book Chapter
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Drawing on emerging findings from a long-term, semi-ethnographic study of HMP Wellingborough, a medium-security British prison, this chapter describes and analyzes the social life and culture of the inmates.
Abstract: A 10-month fieldwork phase between October 2002 and August 2003 involved observation and informal semistructured interviews with prisoners and staff. At the time of the study, the prison held approximately 520 inmates on 7 residential wings. The study focused on inmate behavior and values regarding "grassing" (reporting to staff on other inmates), relationships between prisoners and staff, and the terms of loyalty and solidarity. For a significant majority of inmates, absolutist principles of general inmate solidarity in opposition to the prison regime bore little relation to the attitudes and behaviors of other inmates and what they expected of their peers and themselves. Instead of a fixed code, inmate standards for interaction with staff were characterized by caveats, ambiguities, and mitigating circumstances. Inmates consistently indicated that there had been a decline in the importance and intensity of a shared inmate value system of solidarity, mutual aid, and opposition to prison staff. Despite the general agreement that "grassing" was the most serious violation of inmate norms, circumstances of extreme bullying or threatening behavior by other inmates was deemed an appropriate circumstance for reporting other inmates to prison staff. Regarding relationships between staff and inmates, several reasons were suggested by the inmates for the development and acceptability of more friendly relationships between staff and inmates. These included the nature of prison activities and programs, which required more communication with staff, and an understanding among inmates that conversations with officers were not detrimental to and generally enhanced inmate prison life. 5 notes and 49 references
Main Term(s): Corrections research
Index Term(s): Code of ethics; Criminal codes; Inmate attitudes
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