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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 220341 Find in a Library
Title: Prisonization and Accounts of Gun Carrying
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:35  Issue:5  Dated:September/October 2007  Pages:485-497
Author(s): Paul B. Stretesky; Mark Pogrebin; N. Prabha Unnithan; Gerry Venor
Date Published: September 2007
Page Count: 13
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined a sample of inmates at varying stages of incarceration to determine their perceptions about the reasons other people carry guns.
Abstract: This study provided evidence consistent with theories about prison socialization; that inmates incarcerated for longer periods of time are more likely than those incarcerated for shorter periods of time to describe power as the primary reason that others possess guns. Inmates incarcerated for short periods of time are likely to believe that others carry guns for protection. As inmates become immersed in the prison culture, they are also likely to change their perceptions about why others carry guns. Generally, after 8 years of incarceration, most inmates stopped insisting that others carried guns for protection, and instead said that others carried guns to feel powerful. These accounts stood in sharp contrast to those inmates who were incarcerated for shorter periods of time. This might be attributed to early prison experiences where the norms of prison life are alien to novice inmates. Prison violence may be viewed by the newly arrived inmate as highly unpredictable and often become consumed with thought about avoiding becoming victims. Regardless of whether accounts of others’ motivations for gun possession are the result of imported cultural values or whether these effects represent culture created from prison deprivation, the results should interest policymakers who are concerned with illegal gun use, and implications for successful inmate reentry into the community. Inmates were interviewed at different points in their sentences to determine whether length of stay impacted their perceptions about the motivations of others to carry guns; cross-sectional data were employed to simulate longitudinal results. Data were primarily gathered through semi-structured interviews with inmates. The sample consisted of 73 inmates who were incarcerated for gun-related violent crimes in Colorado. Interview transcripts, tables, appendixes, and references
Main Term(s): Gun Violence; Inmate attitudes
Index Term(s): Adjustment to prison; Inmates; Inmates as research subjects; Older inmates; Prison population prediction; Prisonization; Reentry
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