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NCJ Number: 78545 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Prisoner's Perspective - A Needed View in Policy Formulation
Journal: International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice  Volume:5  Issue:1  Dated:(Spring 1981)  Pages:119-124
Author(s): T J Juliani
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: 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
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper contends that the prisoners' perspective must become a prerequisite consideration in decisionmaking efforts toward the improvement of correctional policy. Criminological thought has relied too much on public opinion polls and simulation studies to the exclusion of the inmates' viewpoint -- a valuable information source on the criminal justice system.
Abstract: The relationship between attitudes and behavior, the sense of participation, the implementation of sound business practices, and the adherence to democratic principles are offered as possible rationales for the acceptance of the prisoners' perspective. Prisoner attitude studies are a necessity for any behavioral change attempts of the corrections system. Furthermore, if inmates can perceive themselves as a contributing part of the criminal justice system, they may be less resentful of the impositions and directives the system makes upon them. The relationship between inmates and the penal system may also be improved if inmates are made to feel that they have retained their citizenship rights while imprisoned. Prison democracies should be furthered despite past failures at such attempts. Furthermore, from the viewpoint of business practices, prisoners should be viewed as important consumers of the product law, whose needs and expectations are important to the profit motive in a free enterprise society. The intent is not to shape prison policies according to inmates' whims, but to use their perspective to assess inadequacies of the existing conditions. In conducting research with prisoners, researchers must take care to ensure inmates' rights and dignity and the occurrence of normal institutional functions and activities. Twenty-six references are given.
Index Term(s): Correctional planning; Correctional reform; Inmate attitudes; Inmate organizations; Inmate self-government; Inmate staff relations
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