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NCJ Number: 51586 Find in a Library
Title: ECONOMICS OF IMPRISONMENT (FROM OFFENDERS AND CORRECTIONS, 1978, BY DENIS SZABO AND SUSAN KATZENELSON - SEE NCJ-51581)
Author(s): M B MILLER
Corporate Author: Praeger Publishers
United States of America

American Soc of Criminology
Criminology
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: American Soc of Criminology
Columbus, OH 43212
Praeger Publishers
Westport, CT 06881
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: IT IS SUGGESTED THAT INMATE BEHAVIOR CANNOT BE FULLY UNDERSTOOD UNLESS ONE EXAMINES PRISON ECONOMIC SYSTEMS AND THE VERY RATIONAL RELATIONSHIPS WHICH ARISE AS THE RESULT OF THE PROVISION OF LICIT AND ILLICIT GOODS.
Abstract: TRADITIONAL PRISON STUDIES HAVE CONCENTRATED ON EITHER THE PSYCHOLOGICAL ATTITUDES OF INMATES OR THE SOCIOLOGICAL PATTERNS OF INMATE SUBCULTURES. RECENTLY A NUMBER OF RESEARCHERS HAVE BEGUN TO EXAMINE THE VIABLE INMATE ECONOMIC SYSTEMS FOUND IN ALL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTIONS. A NUMBER OF THESE STUDIES ARE REVIEWED. THEY FIND THAT THE MINUTE AN INMATE ENTERS THE PRISON HE OR SHE LOSES MATERIAL GOODS AND SERVICES COMMON IN THE OUTSIDE WORLD AND IS FORCED TO SUBSIST ON STATE SUPPLIED COMMODITIES WHICH ARE POOR IN QUALITY, UNCERTAIN AS TO DELIVERY, AND OFTEN UNAVAILABLE FOR CONSIDERABLE PERIODS OF TIME. A THRIVING MARKET EXISTS FOR CLOTHING, SHOES, REPAIR SERVICES, SOCKS, UNDERWEAR, FOODS HIGH IN PROTEIN, DAIRY FOODS, SWEETS, TOBACCO, HOBBY SUPPLIES, GAMES, BOOKS, MAGAZINES, WRITING MATERIALS, MEDICAL AND DENTAL CARE, AND MEDICINES AS WELL AS THE ILLICIT GOODS--DRUGS, ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES, WEAPONS, AND THE LIKE. OFTEN PRISON STAFF COOPERATES IN FURTHERING THE MARKET FOR BOTH LICIT AND ILLICIT GOODS AND SERVICES THROUGH INTENTIONAL NONENFORCEMENT OF PRISON REGULATIONS. STAFF OFTEN CONSIDER MANY OF THESE REGULATIONS A NUISANCE, AND IN MANY INSTANCES STAFF PSYCHOLOGISTS AND GUARDS BUY ART PROJECTS OR SMALL DEVICES MADE BY INMATES EVEN THOUGH STATE REGULATIONS FORBID PRISONERS FROM ENGAGING IN PROFITMAKING ENTERPRISES. RULES AND REGULATIONS WHICH OPEN UP VAST ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES ARE EXPLORED. THE RESOURCEFULNESS AND INGENUITY OF PRISONER-RUN BUSINESSES ARE EXAMINED. IT IS CONCLUDED THAT POOR PAY AND UNPALATABLE WORKING CONDITIONS MAKE THE TRADITIONAL PRISON JOB MOST UNAPPEALING. ENGAGING IN CONTRABAND ACTIVITY IS SEEN AS A RATIONAL ECONOMIC CHOICE. REFERENCES ARE APPENDED. (GLR)
Index Term(s): Correctional institutions (adult); Correctional personnel; Economic analysis; Inmates; Socioculture
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51586

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