skip navigation

PUBLICATIONS

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

 

NCJ Number: 50863 Find in a Library
Title: PRISONERS' UNIONS, INMATE MILITANCY, AND CORRECTIONAL POLICYMAKING
Journal: FEDERAL PROBATION  Volume:42  Issue:2  Dated:(JUNE 1978)  Pages:40-45
Author(s): S WOOLPERT
Corporate Author: Administrative Office of the United States Courts
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: Administrative Office of the United States Courts
Washington, DC 20544
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Publisher: https://www.uscourts.gov 
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: INMATE POLITICAL CULTURE IS ANALYZED TO ILLUMINATE THE SOURCES AND EXTENT OF UNION SUPPORT AMONG INMATES, AND THE PROS AND CONS OF INMATE UNIONIZATION ARE CONSIDERED FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF CORRECTIONAL POLICYMAKING.
Abstract: IN ORDER TO ESTIMATE THE NATURE AND EXTENT OF INMATE SUPPORT FOR THE KIND OF POLITICS WHICH PRISONERS' UNIONS REFLECT, IT IS BELIEVED IMPORTANT TO IDENTIFY ALTERNATIVE INMATE ADAPTATIONS TO PRISON LIFE. THE TYPOLOGY OF INMATE ADAPTATION SELECTED AS A POINT OF REFERENCE IS THAT DEVELOPED BY CLARENCE SCHRAG IN HIS 1961 STUDY, WHERE INMATES WERE DIVIDED INTO THE FOLLOWING CLASSIFICATIONS: (1) 'SQUARE JOHNS'--DEFINED AS THOSE WHO TENDED TO CONFORM TO THE EXPECTATIONS OF PRISON AUTHORITIES; (2) 'CON POLITICIANS'--IDENTIFIED AS INMATES WHO SOUGHT TO PLEASE BOTH FELLOW INMATES AND PRISON AUTHORITIES ACCORDING TO THEIR OWN SELF-INTEREST; (3) 'OUTLAWS'--DEFINED AS INMATES ALIENATED FROM BOTH THE INMATE CULTURE AND THE PRISON ESTABLISHMENT AND CHARACTERISTICALLY VIOLENT; AND (4) 'RIGHT GUYS'--IDENTIFIED AS THOSE WITH AN APPARENTLY CONSISTENT CONCERN FOR FELLOW INMATES AND ANTAGONISM FOR PRISON AUTHORITIES. IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE 'RIGHT GUYS' FORM THE LEADERSHIP CADRE PRESSING FOR INMATE UNIONIZATION. IT IS PREDICTED, HOWEVER, THAT WITH OFFICIAL APPROVAL BY PRISON AUTHORITIES THE 'SQUARE JOHNS' AND 'CON POLITICIANS' WOULD GIVE SIGNIFICANT SUPPORT TO UNIONIZATION. THE POLICY IMPACT OF UNIONIZATION APPEARS MIXED. IT IS RECOGNIZED THAT THE RIGHT OF INMATES TO BARGAIN COLLECTIVELY, WHILE PREFERABLE TO VIOLENCE, COULD CONFLICT WITH THE STATE'S INTEREST IN MAINTAINING A SECURE, FRUGAL PENAL SYSTEM. IT IS ARGUED, HOWEVER, THAT THIS TENSION IS LARGELY A MANIFESTATION OF THE LONG-TERM CONFLICTS BETWEEN COMPETING POLICY GOALS OF INMATES AND PRISON AUTHORITIES, CONFLICTS WHICH WOULD PERSIST IN THE ABSENCE OF UNION ACTIVITIES. THE OPPORTUNITIES WHICH UNIONS OFFER FOR MORE BALANCED ADVOCACY CONCERNING PENAL PRACTICES, REDUCED RISK OF BLOODSHED, AND INCREASED RESPONSIBILITY ON THE PART OF INMATES, IS BELIEVED TO SUGGEST A RELATIVELY BENIGN PROGNOSIS OF UNIONIZATION'S IMPACT ON THE PERFORMANCE OF CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTIONS. (RCB)
Index Term(s): Critiques; Inmate grievances; Policy
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50863

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.