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NCJ Number: 97444 Find in a Library
Title: Empty Bars - Violence and the Crisis of Meaning in the Prison (From Prison Violence in America, P 133-146, 1985, Michael Braswell et al, ed. See NCJ-97435)
Author(s): P Scharf
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: Anderson Publishing Co
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Sale Source: Anderson Publishing Co
Publicity Director
2035 Reading Road
Cincinnati, OH 45202
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper considers the educational, rehabilitative, and other social purposes that prisons should serve; criticizes the corrections profession for failing to determine the purpose of prisons; and traces the consequences of this failure.
Abstract: Prison treatment programs of the late 1960's and early 1970's are discussed, and prison directors' rejection of these and other programs is emphasized. Further, evidence indicating the malaise of the prison is cited; for example, prisons are overcrowded and unable to ensure inmates' safety. The consequences of this malaise are examined, and the loss of purpose is shown to dominate all social processes within the prison. Additionally, the loss of common values and of the possibility of social redemption are shown to have profound consequences for both inmates and staff. Prison violence is analyzed and attributed to the gang phenomenon of purposelessness. The metaphors of the prison as 'monastery,' as 'workshop,' as 'schoolhouse,' as 'hospital,' as 'commune,' as 'polis,' and as 'enterprise' are reviewed. The need for the development of a new metaphor for prison is noted. It is predicted that the prison metaphor of the year 1990 will be politically palatable, inexpensive, and beneficial to inmates. The need for prisons to reform themselves before they can reform their inmates is emphasized. Twenty references are listed.
Index Term(s): Correctional reform; Corrections effectiveness; Corrections management; Corrections policies; Institutional violence; Rehabilitation
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