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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 47937 Find in a Library
Title: GAMES INMATES PLAY (FROM JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONS, 1978, BY NORMAN JOHNSTON AND LEONARD D SAVITZ - SEE NCJ-47922)
Author(s): S J MILLER; C BARTOLLAS; D JENNIFER; E REDD; S DINITZ
Corporate Author: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: UTILIZING THE GAME FORMULA OF TRANSACTIONAL ANALYSIS, THE INTENT OF THIS ARTICLE IS TO EXAMINE GAMES INMATES PLAY WITH THE STAFF IN AN END-OF-THE-LINE JUVENILE INSTITUTION.
Abstract: THESE GAMES ARE DEFINED AS ONGOING SERIES OF COMPLEMENTARY ULTERIOR TRANSACTIONS PROGRESSING TO A WELL DEFINED, PREDICTABLE OUTCOME. EACH OF THE GAMES DESCRIBED HERE IS BASICALLY DISHONEST AND MAY BE USED NOT ONLY TO KEEP INDIVIDUALS FROM BECOMING INTIMATE WITH OTHERS, BUT ALSO, TO ESCAPE BOREDOM. THE PAYOFF TO THESE GAMES IS FOR PARTICIPANTS TO MANIPULATE OTHERS TO GAIN AN ADVANTAGE. THE INSTITUTION INVOLVED IN THIS STUDY IS RESERVED FOR OVERLY HOSTILE AND AGGRESSIVE MALES RANGING IN AGE FROM 15 TO 20 YEARS. NEARLY 150 BOYS ARE HOUSED IN 8 COTTAGES JOINED BY CORRIDORS CONNECTING SCHOOL, VOCATIONAL, AND RECREATIONAL AREAS. PARTICIPANT OBSERVATION AND A SERIES OF TAPE RECORDED INTERVIEWS WITH BOTH THE STAFF AND THE BOYS WERE USED TO CLARIFY THE DYNAMICS OF INTERACTION BETWEEN STAFF AND BOYS. PARTICIPANT OBSERVATION WAS USED PRINCIPALLY TO CAPTURE AND DEPICT THE PROCESS OF INTERACTION, AND INDEPTH INTERVIEWS WITH THREE STAFF MEMBERS WERE USED IN UNDERSTANDING THE NATURE OF STAFF EXPLOITATION. GENERALLY, THESE GAMES FALL INTO FIVE GROUPS. THE FIRST ARE PHYSICAL GAMES. SINCE OUT RIGHT ATTACKS ON STAFF MEMBERS ARE GENERALLY DOOMED TO FAILURE, IT IS NECESSARY TO INVENT OTHER MEANS OF MANEUVERING INTO A DOMINANT POSITION OVER THE STAFF. THESE GAMES ARE USED TO PUT PRESSURE ON THE YOUTH LEADERS SO THAT THEY HAVE LESS CONTROL OVER INMATES. NEXT THERE ARE PSYCHOLOGICAL GAMES. AS ONE MOVES AWAY FROM PHYSICAL CONFRONTATION, THE RISK AND REWARDS ARE REDUCED BECAUSE INMATES ARE MORE CONCERNED ABOUT EMOTIONALLY UPSETTING YOUTH LEADERS AND SOCIAL WORKERS THAN THEY ARE IN CONTROLLING THEM. ONCE THE STAFF MEMBERS ARE UPSET THEY MAY NEGLECT THEIR JOBS, OVERREACT TO THE BOYS, AND EVENTUALLY LOSE CONTROL. THE BOYS SOMETIMES PLAY THERAPEUTIC GAMES IN ORDER TO AMUSE THEMSELVES, BUT THEY ARE MOST FREQUENTLY PLAYED TO MAKE THE STAFF FEEL THAT THE INMATES ARE DERIVING MAXIMUM BENEFIT FROM THE INSTITUTIONS'S TREATMENT PROGRAMS. THERE ARE ALSO THEOLOGICAL GAMES. BOYS OCCASIONALY HAVE PROFOUND SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES IN THE INSTITUTION; HOWEVER, THERE ARE MORE YOUTHS WHO FEIGN RELIGIOUS INTEREST OR CONVERSION BECAUSE OF THE EFFECT IT WILL HAVE ON THE CHAPLAIN AND OTHER TREATMENT-STAFF MEMBERS. LASTLY, THERE ARE MATERIAL GAMES. THE PURPOSE OF THESE GAMES IS TO IMPROVE THE INMATES' LOT IN THE INSTITUTION AND TO MAKE THEIR STAY AS PLEASURABLE AS POSSIBLE. SINCE MANY ITEMS, SUCH AS FOOD, CANDY, AND CIGARETTES ARE SCARCE, BOYS ARE CONTINUALLY TRYING TO MANIPULATE THE STAFF TO THEIR OWN ADVANTAGE IN ORDER TO ACQUIRE SUCH COMMODITIES. VARIOUS EXAMPLES OF EACH GROUP OF GAMES ARE CITED AND DISCUSSED. (KBL)
Index Term(s): Analysis; Correctional institutions (juvenile); Inmate staff relations
Note: REPRINTED FROM VICTIMOLOGY - A NEW FOCUS, V 5 EXPLOITERS AND EXPLOITED - THE DYNAMICS OF VICTIMIZATION 1974, EDITED BY ISRAEL DRAPKIN AND EMILIANO VIANO
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=47937

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