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NCJ Number: 64922 Find in a Library
Title: RESEARCH ON THE INFLUENCE OF PRISON ENVIRONMENT ON THIEVES
Journal: REVISTA MEXICANA DE CIENCIAS PENALES  Volume:1  Issue:1  Dated:(ENERO-JUNIO 1978)  Pages:95-154
Author(s): L M DELPONT
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 60
Format: Article
Language: Spanish
Country: Mexico
Annotation: A SAMPLING OF 50 INMATES IN A MEXICAN PENITENTIARY, SERVING PRISON SENTENCES FOR THEFT (THE CRIME WITH THE HIGHEST LOCAL INCIDENCE) WAS SURVEYED WITH REGARD TO THE EFFECTS OF INCARCERATION ON RECIDIVISM RATES.
Abstract: PERSONAL INTERVIEWS WITH THE SUBJECTS WERE CORROBORATED WITH DATA CONTAINED IN THEIR FILES. HALF THE SAMPLING CONSISTED OF FIRST OFFENDERS, THE OTHER HALF OF RECIDIVISTS. THE SUBJECTS' AGES WERE BETWEEN 18 AND 25 FOR FIRST OFFENDERS AND 30 TO 50 FOR RECIDIVISTS. THE EDUCATIONAL LEVEL WAS GENERALLY LOW, RANGING FROM ILLITERACY TO A FEW YEARS OF HIGH SCHOOL, WITH ONLY ONE FIRST OFFENDER HAVING ATTENDED SOME COLLEGE. THE MAJORITY WERE SINGLE, OR HAD COMMON-LAW WIVES. THEIR FAMILY BACKGROUNDS SHOWED POVERTY AND INSTABILITY; THEIR WORK HISTORY POINTED TO UNEMPLOYMENT, UNDEREMPLOYMENT, OR EMPLOYMENT IN POORLY REMUNERATED, UNSKILLED OCCUPATIONS; AND ECONOMIC FRUSTRATIONS AND THE DESIRE TO COMPENSATE FOR THEIR FAILURE BY ACQUIRING SOME MATERIAL STATUS SYMBOL WAS GENERALLY THE CAUSE OF THEIR CRIMES. PROPERTY CRIMES WERE MOSTLY BURGLARIES, WITH A LOW INCIDENCE OF WEAPONS USE OR EVEN BURGLAR'S TOOLS. ALL SUBJECTS EXPRESSED RESENTMENT AT THE SENTENCES THEY HAD RECEIVED (ALL HIGH, EVEN FOR FIRST OFFENDERS, AVERAGING 3 YEARS WITH 10 YEARS OR MORE FOR RECIDIVISTS). THEY PERCEIVED THEIR CRIMES AS 'ERRORS' FOR WHICH THEY WERE PAYING A HIGH PRICE. THEY COMPLAINED OF DRAWN-OUT TRIALS, OF THE ALOOFNESS OF JUDGES, OF THE POOR QUALITY OF THEIR COURT APPOINTED DEFENSE. THEY ALL FOUND THE PRISON EXPERIENCE NEGATIVE AND NIGHTMARISH. THEY COMPLAINED OF UNSAVORY CELLMATES; OF BLEAK SURROUNDINGS; OF THE LACK OF RECREATIONAL, CULTURAL, AND ARTISTIC ACTIVITIES IN WHICH THEY ALL EXPRESSED INTEREST; OF THE LACK OF REALISTIC VOCATIONAL TRAINING AND FAIRLY REMUNERATED PRISON WORK; AND OF AN INACCESSIBLE LIBRARY. REMEDIAL INSTRUCTION WAS AVAILABLE, BUT FEW INMATES FELT ANY INCENTIVE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT. SEXUAL PROBLEMS WERE HARDLY ALLEVIATED BY CONJUGAL VISITS, WHICH WERE TERMED UNSATISFACTORY, SHAMEFULLY ANIMALISTIC, AND WITHOUT ANY WARMTH. MOST INMATES DID NOT RECEIVE SUCH VISITS BECAUSE OF THEIR WIVES' INABILITY TO TRAVEL, DUE TO WORK AND FAMILY OBLIGATIONS. EVEN THE FEW SUBJECTS WHO ADMITTED TO UNNATURAL SEXUAL OUTLETS EXPRESSED A DESIRE FOR HETEROSEXUAL RELATIONS. DRUG USE WAS RAMPANT AS A FORM OF ESCAPE. THE ONLY POSSIBLE EFFECT OF INCARCERATION ON RECIDIVISM RATES WAS DETERRENCE, BECAUSE OF THE HARSH PRISON CONDITIONS, BUT REHABILITATION AND SOCIAL REINTEGRATION GOALS WERE NOT EVEN APPROACHED. GRAPHS ARE APPENDED. --IN SPANISH. (LGR)
Index Term(s): Corrections effectiveness; Crime Causes; Deterrence effectiveness; Effects of imprisonment; Facility conditions; Inmate attitudes; Mexico; Property crimes; Recidivism; Rehabilitation; Surveys; Theft offenses
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64922

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