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NCJ Number: 44142 Find in a Library
Title: CHANGING POLITICAL CULTURE OF A TOTAL INSTITUTION - THE CASE OF WALLA WALLA (WA)
Journal: PRISON JOURNAL  Volume:57  Issue:2  Dated:(AUTUMN-WINTER 1977)  Pages:43-55
Author(s): G TYRNER-STASTNY; C I STASTNY
Corporate Author: Pennsylvania Prison Soc
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: Pennsylvania Prison Soc
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE HISTORY OF INMATE SELF-GOVERNMENT AND OTHER REFORMS AT THE WASHINGTON STATE PENITENTIARY IS TRACED IN A DISCUSSION OF THE PROCESS OF PRISON DETOTALIZATION.
Abstract: 'DETOTALIZATION' REFERS TO THE DEMISE OF THE PHYSICALLY AND SOCIALLY ISOLATED NATURE OF THE MAXIMUM-SECURITY PRISON AS A TOTAL INSTITUTION. THE CONCEPT OF THE TOTAL INSTITUTION, IN WHICH INMATES FORM A SELF-CONTAINED SOCIETY REFLECTING THE EXPERIENCES AND DEPRIVATIONS OF PRISON LIFE, HAS BEEN CHALLENGED BY THE IMPORTATION MODEL, WHICH EMPHASIZES THE CHARACTERISTICS BROUGHT TO PRISON BY THE INMATES. THE LATE 1960'S AND EARLY 1970'S SAW A 'NEW BREED' OF INMATES, MANY OF WHOM CONSIDERED THEMSELVES POLITICAL PRISONERS. TOGETHER WITH MEDIA PENETRATION OF PRISON SYSTEMS, THIS NEW TYPE OF PRISONER UNDERMINED THE ISOLATION, OR TOTALITY, OF THE PRISON INSTITUTION. A REVIEW OF REFORMS AT THE WASHINGTON STATE PENITENTIARY ILLUSTRATED HOW INTERNAL CHANGES CAN COMBINE WITH EXTERNAL FORCES TO FURTHER DETOTALIZE A PRISON. AT THE CORE OF THE 1970-1975 REFORM EXPERIMENT AT THE WASHINGTON FACILITY WAS THE RESIDENT GOVERNMENT COUNCIL, A REPRESENTATIVE BODY ELECTED FOR A 6-MONTH TERM BY THE INMATES. TOGETHER WITH OTHER REFORMS, THE COUNCIL CONCEPT WAS INTRODUCED BY PRISON ADMINISTRATORS IN RESPONSE TO THE GROWING POLITICIZATION OF INMATES AND THE PERCEIVED THREAT OF REVOLUTION. THE INMATE SELF-GOVERNMENT PROGRAM LASTED 4 YEARS. THE MOST STRIKING FEATURE OF THE PROGRAM WAS THE MANNER IN WHICH IT OPENED COMMUNICATION BETWEEN INMATES AND PRISON OFFICIALS. HOWEVER, THIS OPENING OF COMMUNICATION RESULTED IN A SHARP DECLINE OF MORALE AMONG PRISON GUARDS. THE RESULT OF THE WASHINGTON REFORM EXPERIMENT IS VIEWED AS THE RESTORATION OF THE STRUCTURE OF POWER AND AUTHORITY TRADITIONAL IN MAXIMUM-SECURITY INSTITUTIONS, BUT NOT AS THE RETOTALIZATION OF THE PRISON CULTURE.
Index Term(s): Inmate organizations; Inmate self-government; Inmate staff relations; Penology; Reform; Social organization; Washington
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=44142

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