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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 41526 Find in a Library
Title: DEMOCRACY AND PRISON REFORM - A THEORY OF DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION IN PRISON
Journal: PRISON JOURNAL  Volume:55  Issue:2  Dated:(AUTUMN-WINTER 1975)  Pages:21-33
Author(s): P SCHARF
Corporate Author: Pennsylvania Prison Soc
United States of America
Date Published: 1975
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: Pennsylvania Prison Soc
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A HEURISTIC TYPOLOGY IS DEVELOPED WHICH DIFFERENTIATES TWO DISCRETE DIMENSIONS RELEVANT TO POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN PRISON - THE RANGE OF INFLUENCE AND THE MODE OF POWER (ADVISORY, REPRESENTATIVE, OR DIRECT).
Abstract: THIS TYPOLOGY RECOGNIZES SIX TYPES OF PRISON DEMOCRACY: UNIT ADVISORY BOARDS, PRISON ADVISORY BOARDS, UNIT REPRESENTATIVE COUNCILS, PRISON REPRESENTATIVE BOARDS, UNIT DIRECT DEMOCRACY, AND PRISON DIRECT DEMOCRACY. WHILE EACH OF THESE TYPES DEFINE 'PARTICIPATION' IN PRISONS, ONLY LARGE-SCALE (CENTRALIZED) REPRESENTATIVE AND SMALL GROUP (DECENTRALIZED) DIRECT PARTICIPATION HAVE BOTH EXTANT HISTORICAL EXAMPLES AND SUFFICIENT EFFECT UPON BOTH PRISON AND INMATE TO WARRANT CONSIDERATION AS 'GENUINE DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION.' SO FEW PRISON DEMOCRACIES HAVE SUCCEEDED DUE TO AN INABILITY TO CLEARLY DEFINE THE LIMITS OF PRISON DEMOCRACY TO ADMINISTRATORS, INMATES, AND THE LEGAL SYSTEM, THE INABILITY OF PRISON PROGRAMS TO INVOLVE BOTH INMATES AND STAFF, AND A FAILURE TO TIE PRISON DEMOCRACY TO A PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORY OF REHABILITATION. KOHLBERG'S THEORY OF MORAL JUDGMENT SUGGESTS THAT THERE ARE SIX STAGES OF MORAL REASONING WHICH DESCRIBE AN INVARIANT PROGRESSION OF MORAL AND SOCIAL THOUGHT RANGING FROM AN OBEDIENCE AND PUNISHMENT ORIENTATION TO A CONSCIENCE OR PRINCIPLE ORIENTATION. AN EXPERIMENTAL PROJECT INITIATED IN 1971 AT THE NIANTIC CONNECTICUT STATE FARM FOR WOMEN EXPLORED THE POSSIBILITY OF INMATES, STAFF, AND ADMINISTRATORS WORKING TOGETHER TO CREATE A NEW SET OF RULES FOR A SINGLE COTTAGE ON THE FARM. FUNCTIONING THROUGH REGULAR TOWN MEETINGS, THE PROGRAM SEEKS TO ESTABLISH THE COMMUNITY AS A NEW MORAL REFERENT GROUP. EVALUATION OF THE EXPERIMENT REVEALS THAT, OVERALL, 75 PER CENT OF THE MODEL COTTAGE INMATES ACCEPTED THE FAIRNESS OF THE POLITICAL STRUCTURE OF THE COTTAGE AS COMPARED WITH 33 PER CENT OF THOSE IN A TRADITIONAL FEMALE COTTAGE. RESULTS ALSO TENDED TO INDICATE THAT INMATES INVOLVED IN THE PROJECT MATURED MORE RAPIDLY THAN DID INMATES IN THE TRADITIONALLY GOVERNED UNIT. A BIBLIOGRAHY IS PROVIDED....ELW
Index Term(s): Correctional institutions (adult); Correctional institutions (juvenile); Inmate attitudes; Inmate organizations; Inmate staff relations; Management; Political influences; Rehabilitation
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=41526

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