Prisons • Prison Life
Total Institutions • Prisons are a type of total institution—enclosed places where people share all aspects of their daily lives. • Residents of “total institutions”: • May be sent there forcibly • Are cut off from larger society • Operate like “small societies” • Form distinctive value systems and life styles
Prison Subculture New inmates undergo a process of prisonization, through which they learn convict values, attitudes, roles, and language (argot) that make up the prison subculture.
Five elements of the prison code: Don’t interfere with interests of other inmates—don’t rat on others Play it cool—do your own time Don’t whine—be a man Don’t exploit inmates—don’t break your word Don’t be a sucker—don’t trust guards or staff Prison Subcultures Sykes and Messinger: The Inmate Social System (1960)
Prison Subculture • Research on prison subcultures suggests that they: • Evolve to reflect the concerns and experiences of the wider culture • Develop independently of the plan of prison administrators • Are consistent among prisons across the United States
Deprivation Model Prison subculture develops as a way to adapt to deprivations faced by inmates: Liberty Goods and services Autonomy Personal security Heterosexual relationships Importation Model Inmates bring values, roles, and behaviors with them from the outside world when they enter prison. The Functions of Prison Subculture Two Explanations for Prison Society:
Homosexuality in Prison • Prison subculture both constrains and • promotes homosexuality. • Words within argot describe homosexuality • Newcomers frequently preyed upon • Sex used as a commodity • Prison rape does occur
Homosexual Assault in Prison Sexual assaults are likely to leave psychological scars long after the physical event is over. Federal govt. addressed this concern with the Prison Rape Elimination Act.
The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) The purposes of the PREA (2003) are: • Establish a zero-tolerance standard for prison rape. • Make prison rape prevention a top priority in correctional facilities and systems. • Develop and implement national standards for the detection, prevention, reduction, and punishment of prison rape. • Increase the availability of information on the incidence and prevalence of prison rape. • Increase the accountability of corrections officials with regard to the issue of sexual violence in our nation’s prisons. ..\..\WESTEC\GEO In-Service\Prison rape\prea.mpg
2005 PREA Results There were 8,210 incidents of sexual violence nationwide in 2004. Of these: • 42% involved sexual misconduct by staff (includes “consensual” acts) - 69% of victims were male - 67% of perpetrators were female • 37% were inmate-on-inmate nonconsensual - 90% of victims and perpetrators were male • 11% incidents of sexual harassment by facility employees According to the BJS, this likely reflects an underestimation of actual occurrences, as many victims likely do not tell.
Homosexual Assault in Prison Studies of sexual violence in prison reveal that: • Most sexual aggressors do not consider themselves homosexuals. • Sexual release is not the primary motivation for sexual attack. • Many aggressors must continue to participate in gang rapes to avoid being victims themselves. • The aggressors have themselves suffered much damage to their masculinity in the past.
Female Inmates • At the start of 2006, there were more than 98,000 women in state and federal facilities. • 7% of the total prison population • Increasing at a faster rate than male inmates
Prison Inmates by Gender and Ethnicity in State and Federal Prisons, 2005 Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2006
National Profile of Women OffendersThe National Institute of Corrections (2003) • According to the NIC, women offenders are: • Disproportionately women of color • In their early to mid-30s • Most likely to have been convicted of a drug-related offense • From fragmented families that include other family members who also have been involved with the criminal justice system
National Profile of Women OffendersThe National Institute of Corrections (2003) • Women offenders are: • Survivors of physicals and/or sexual abuse as children and adults • Individuals with significant substance abuse problems • Individuals with multiple physical and mental health problems • Unmarried mothers of minor children • Individuals with a high school diploma or GED but limited vocational training and sporadic work histories
Personal Histories and Pathways to CrimeThe National Institute of Corrections (2003) • Histories/pathways to crime include: • Survival strategies resulting from poverty and/or physical, sexual, or substance abuse • Substance abuse • Physical health • Mental health • Children and marital status • Education and employment
Gender Responsiveness • Critics say that the prison system was not • designed for women. The NIC recommends: • Creating a system structured to meet the needs of female inmates. • Developing gender-responsive policies and practices cognizant of and effectively addressing women’s pathways to criminality. • Modifying criminal justice sanctions and interventions to recognize female offender’s general low risk to public safety. • Considering women’s relationships and roles in the community in deciding appropriate correctional sanctions.
Social Structure in Women’s Prisons • Some researchers have discovered a social • structure in which women form relationships • with each other that are similar to those • experienced outside of prison life. • Courtship, marriage • Kinship systems • Pseudo Families Additionally, lesbianism and staff-inmate sexual misconduct exists.
Violence in Women’s Prison Violence is less frequent than in men’s facilities.
Addressing the Problems of Imprisoned Women • The Task Force on the Female Offender • recommends the following changes: • Make substance abuse programs available • Build greater literacy skills • House females in separate facilities • Develop programs allowing women to keep children in the facility • Ensure equal access to assistance with programming
About 748,000 people are employed in corrections. 62% state level 33% local level 5% federal The Staff World
Staff roles can include: Warden Psychologist Counselor Area supervisor Program director Instructor Correctional officers Physician Therapist The Staff World
Correctional Officers Like inmates, correctional officers undergo a socialization process that helps them function by the official and unofficial rules of staff society. One of the major formative influences on staff culture is the potential threat that inmates pose.
Custody + Control • Prison staffers are most concerned with custody and control. • Has led to institutionalized procedures for ensuring safety
Professionalism of Correctional Officers Corrections personnel are becoming better trained and more proficient, leading to greater professionalism.
Riots occur for a variety of reasons, including Insensitive prison administration and neglected inmate demands Carry-over of violent criminal lifestyles Dehumanizing prison conditions, including: —overcrowding —lack of personal expression Regulate inmate society and redistribute power among inmates Power vacuums are created by prisoners’ power (gangs). Causes of Prison Riots
Most riots are unplanned and occur unexpectedly. They tend to evolve through five stages. Explosion, which involves binges (alcohol and drugs), burned buildings, hostage taking, settling of old grudges Organizationinto inmate-led groups Confrontationwith authorities Termination through negotiation or physical confrontation Reaction and explanation usually by investigative commission Stages of Prison Riots
Prior to the 1960s, American courts had taken a neutral approach—commonly called the hands-off doctrine—toward the running of prisons. Rested on the belief that inmates experienced civil death. Hands Off Doctrine
In Pell v. Procunier (1974) the U.S. Supreme Court established the “balancing test.” Balancing test—attempts to weigh the rights of individuals against the state’s authority to make laws or otherwise restrict a person’s freedom in order to protect its interests and its citizens. Legal Basis of Prisoner Rights
Prisoner rights can be thought of as conditional rights. They are constrained by the legitimate needs of imprisonment. Prisoner Rights as Conditional Rights Prisoner rights have a basis in the Constitution and the law external to the institution.
First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech apply to inmates’ rights in three areas: Receipt of mail Communications with others (especially those on the outside) Visitation Communications and Visitation
The First and Fourteenth Amendments provide the basis for inmates’ rights claim in the area of religious freedom. Religious Freedom
Established that prisoners must be given a “reasonable opportunity” to pursue their faith, even if it differs from traditional forms of worship. Religious Freedom Cruz v. Beto (1972)
Prisoners in segregation do not have to be permitted the opportunity to attend religious services. Religious Freedom
Bounds v. Smith (1977) recognized the right of prisoners to petition the court. It is the duty of the state to assist prisoners in preparation and filing of legal papers. Assistance could be in the form of trained personnel or institutional law libraries. Access to the Courts and Legal Assistance
The Court in Lewis v. Casey (1996) overturned part of Bounds. Prisoners are not guaranteed the “wherewithal to file any and every type of legal claim.” Access to the Courts and Legal Assistance
Indigent inmates: Do not have the right to an appointed lawyer if no judicial proceedings have been initiated against them. Must be provided with stamps for purposes of legal correspondence. Access to the Courts and Legal Assistance
In Estelle v. Gamble (1976)the U.S. Supreme Court concerned itself with “deliberate indifference” on the part of staff toward prisoners’ needs for medical attention. Court-held prison officials responsible for providing adequate medical care. Deliberate indifference requires both actual knowledge and disregard of risk of harm (per Hudson v. McMillan ). Medical Care
The issue of medical care includes whether inmates can be forced to take medication. In Washington v. Harper (1990),the U.S. Supreme Court held that prisoners can refuse the involuntary administration of antipsychotic drugs unless government officials can demonstrate an “overriding justification” as to why the drugs may be necessary. Medical Care
In Pennsylvania Department of Corrections v. Yeskey (1998),the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 applies to prisons and to prison inmates. In U.S. v. Georgia (2006),the U.S. Supreme Court held that state’s claims of sovereign immunity could not bar suits brought under the ADA. Medical Care
Protection from Harm • Based on the Eighth Amendment, inmates have the right to: • Food, water, and shelter • Protection from foreseeable attack • Protection from predictable sexual attack • Protection against suicide
Protection from Harm • In Farmer v. Brennan (1994), the Court extended the deliberate indifference standard to claims of liability for harm. • Liability exists only if a prison official “knows that inmates face a substantial risk of serious harm and disregards that risk by failing to take reasonable measures to abate it.”
Protection from Harm In Helling v. McKinney (1993), the Court maintained that prison officials are responsible for maintaining environmental conditions under which health problems might be prevented from developing.
Most major Supreme Court cases have held that prisoners do not have a reasonable expectation to privacy when incarcerated. Examples: Katz v. U.S. (1967) U.S. v. Ready (1978) Hudson v. Palmer (1984) Block v. Rutherford (1984) Privacy