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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 66003 Find in a Library
Title: CORRECTIONS AND THE NATIVE AMERICAN CLIENT
Journal: PRISON JOURNAL  Volume:59  Issue:1  Dated:(SPRING/SUMMER 1979)  Pages:49-60
Author(s): L FRENCH
Corporate Author: Pennsylvania Prison Soc
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 12
Sponsoring Agency: Pennsylvania Prison Soc
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: CORRECTIONAL DISREGARD FOR NATIVE AMERICAN CUSTOMS AND VALUES IS BLAMED FOR INTENSIFIED ALIENATION OF INDIAN INMATES. TO FACILITATE REHABILITATION, INDIAN CULTURAL IDENTITY SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED AND RESPECTED.
Abstract: INSTITUTIONAL CONTROL IS GENERALLY ACHIEVED BY USING THE INMATES' HOMEWORLD ENVIRONMENT AS A CARROT-ON-A-STICK DEVICE TO ENTICE INMATE CONFORMITY TO CUSTODIAL DEMANDS. THIS TECHNIQUE, HOWEVER, WORKS ONLY WHEN INMATES AND STAFF HAVE A COMMON HOMEWORLD ENVIRONMENT. THE DEPRIVATIONS OF INCARCERATION ARE MORE SEVERE FOR NATIVE INDIANS, WHOSE HARMONY ETHNIC CONFLICTS WITH THE COMPETITIVE PROTESTANT VALUES THAT RULE CORRECTIONAL DISCIPLINE. CONTEMPORARY INDIANS CAN BE DIVIDED INTO THREE GROUPS ACCORDING TO THEIR CULTURAL ORIENTATION: TRADITIONAL, MIDDLE CLASS, AND MARGINAL. THE FIRST ADHERE TO THEIR ABORIGINAL HERITAGE, THE SECOND ARE ADEQUATELY SOCIALIZED WITHIN THE DOMINANT CULTURE, BUT THE THIRD BELONG IN NEITHER, ALTHOUGH THEY CONSTITUTE 70 PERCENT OF THE INDIAN POPULATION. THE INDIANS IN THIS GROUP ARE ALIENATED FROM THEIR OWN PEOPLE BY IGNORANCE OF TRADITIONAL CUSTOMS AND REJECTED BY THE MAJORITY CULTURE BECAUSE OF THEIR INABILITY TO MEET ITS RIGOROUS STANDARDS. MARGINAL INDIANS ARE MOST LIKELY TO VIOLATE MAJORITY NORMS RESULTING IN ARREST, CONVICTION, AND INCARCERATION. INDIANS HAVE AN ARREST RATE APPROXIMATELY 3 TIMES THAT OF BLACKS AND 10 TIMES THAT OF WHITES. SINCE THE PRISON SITUATION MERELY INCREASES ALIENATION, THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE CONTROL APPARATUS CONTRIBUTES TO THE SAME PROBLEMS IT IS MANDATED TO CURB. INDIAN RIGHTS MOVEMENTS INVOLVING EDUCATED YOUNG NATIVES WITH EMPATHY FOR THEIR PEOPLE'S SITUATION HAVE BEEN ACTIVE FOR THE PAST 30 YEARS AND HAVE GRADUALLY COME TO FOCUS THEIR GRIEVANCES UPON THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. A TURNING POINT IN THEIR EFFORTS WAS THE 1973 NATIVE AMERICAN RIGHTS FUND VICTORY IN A CRIMINAL SUIT AGAINST THE NEBRASKA PRISON SYSTEM. THE COURT ORDERED SPECIFIC CHANGES MANDATING INDIAN INMATES' RIGHTS TO PURSUE NATIVE CUSTOMS AND RECEIVE ACCREDITED INDIAN STUDIES COURSES IN PRISON. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE CHEYENNE RIVER SWIFT BIRD PROJECT WAS ESTABLISHED AS A VOLUNTARY PRERELEASE, INDIAN-RUN CORRECTIONAL FACILITY SERVING NATIVE AMERICANS IN FIVE NORTHERN PLAINS STATES. THE INTENT OF THE PROJECT IS TO REINFORCE NATIVE VALUES AND IDENTITY WHILE TEACHING ADAPTIVE SKILLS FOR SURVIVAL IN THE MAJORITY CULTURE. REFERENCES ARE INCLUDED. (MRK)
Index Term(s): Correctional reform; Indian affairs; Inmate academic education; Inmate grievances; Inmate staff relations; Minnesota; Montana; Nebraska; North Dakota; Prerelease centers; Prisoner's rights; Socioculture; South Dakota; Tribal community relations
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=66003

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