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NCJ Number: 78140 Find in a Library
Title: Community of Scapegoats - The Segregation of Sex Offenders and Informers in Prison
Author(s): P Priestley
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 161
Sponsoring Agency: Pergamon Press, Inc
Elmsford, NY 10523
Sale Source: Pergamon Press, Inc
Maxwell House
Fairview Park
Elmsford, NY 10523
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Based on information collected by a welfare officer employed at Shepton Mallet prison in England between 1966 and 1968, this book analyzes a prison community of Rule Forty Three men -- sexual offenders, informers, and petty criminals who were voluntarily separated from the prison population for their own protection.
Abstract: In August 1966, the English prison department decided to use Shepton Mallet, an abandoned prison, as a separate facility for prisoners who had applied to the authorities for personal protection from the violent attention of their peers under Rule Forty Three. This study first considers the processes by which prisoners become Forty-Threes, beginning with ways that prisoners working in the reception area screen new inmates and identify scapegoats and intimidation of sex offenders who pass undetected by the reception cons. Since only a small minority of imprisoned sex offenders apply for protection, reasons for the selection of certain individuals as scapegoats are examined. The experiences of a smaller group of Forty Threes, informers, are covered. Using records of 100 men, characteristics of the principal groups in Shepton Mallet are detailed: offenders against children and a mixed group of informers, debtors, and mentally disturbed men. A general description of the Forty Three community notes that identification of sex and nonsex cases was important, habitual informers were avoided, and that men convicted of the perceived worst offenses were accorded the lowest status in a rudimentary hierarchy. The hesitant and isolationist patterns of interaction among individuals and groups are reviewed. Questionnaires completed by 50 Forty Threes form the basis for a discussion of their attitudes toward prison life. Also discussed are the role of extremist religions in the community, staff attitudes, and relations between prisoners and staff. The concluding chapter explores the functions of prison from the sociological perspective and proposes an analogy between the Rule Forty Three scapegoats and witchcraft beliefs and accusations. Footnotes, over 60 references, and an index are provided.
Index Term(s): England; Informants; Inmate personal security; Inmate segregation; Prisonization; Sex offenders; Subculture theory; Victimization in prisons
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