John Jay College Osman WaheedCJBS 415 01/23/2018
Prof. Dr. Maria Haberfeld
Short Assignment #3
The prison system in American is like its own society. It has its own rules that one must follow that are different from what the rest of society has to follow. In the free world no one is telling you when to eat, sleep, and shower. But in prison you must abide by the rules laid out for you if you are incarcerated. This causes prison to have its own culture and the longer you are in the more it affects you. By the time an individual is released back to society, they are unable to reintegrate with society because of prisonization. This can cause an individual to relapse into their old behaviors and land them back in prison. Every individual has their own experience in prison, so the effect prison has will vary from person to person. The prison culture is like any other culture it consists of their own habits, traditions, behavior systems, history, customs, folkways, codes, the laws and rules that guide the inmates, their ideas, opinions and attitudes toward or against going home, etc (Panzarella & Vona 2006). Inmates in the prison system have their own group of people who they have a personal attachment to and these people have the biggest influence on their behavior.
Prisonization is a term use to indicate the taking on in greater or less degree of the folkways, mores, customs, and general culture of the penitentiary (Panzarella & Vona 2006). It is the process that a person goes through in which they become accustom to the culture and social life in the prison. Clemmer means that a person who goes into prison learns the new culture just like an immigrant from another country. It takes time to learn the culture and short term prison sentences will not necessarily mean that they will take on the culture. Just like if an immigrant stays in American for a year there will not be much of integration into the culture but if they stay for 20 years then they will be accustomed to the culture. According to Clemmers the first step that a person goes through when they go into the prison system is the loss of their statues (Panzarella & Vona 2006). The individual becomes a nobody in the prison culture; he is stripped of whatever status he had before he entered prison. The name of the individual gets replaced with a number (Panzarella & Vona 2006). They get fitted with the same cloths as the rest of the inmates (Panzarella & Vona 2006). Soon they learn who is in charge of the prison, which is the warden (Panzarella & Vona 2006). Then they learn the ranks, titles, and authority of the different officials working in the prison (Panzarella & Vona 2006). Prison slang is learned whether it is used or not (Panzarella & Vona 2006). As an individual continues their incarceration in a prison they learn more and more about the prison culture. They will have their own group of friends that influence their behavior. This will determine whether or not they will engage in behavior that will be in violation of prison rules. After being incarcerated for a couple of weeks certain essentials that were previously taken for granted will have a new meaning. Food, shelter, clothing and activity become a must have to survive within prison (Panzarella & Vona 2006). As time moves on most individuals are looking to do their time without any trouble (Panzarella & Vona 2006). Many want a good job that will not result in conflict with others within the prison system (Panzarella & Vona 2006). First timers in the prison system will do any type of job without any trouble, but as time goes on they develop their own preferences and let their desires be known (Panzarella & Vona 2006). This is a part of the prisonization process. Individuals will learn behaviors such as gambling, abnormal sexual behavior, dislike of prison guards and other prison officials (Panzarella & Vona 2006).
Not every individual that goes through prison learns all these behaviors. Prisonization affects everyone differently. According to Clemmers there are universal factors of prisonization that affect all prisoners. Some of these influences according to Clemmers are accepting an inferior role, learning the organization of the prison, developing new habits of eating, dressing, working, sleeping and learning the local language and the realization that nothing is owed to the prison system for supplying goods (Panzarella & Vona 2006). These traits are universal and all individuals within the prison system are influenced by these factors. Even individuals who are incarcerated for a short period of time are influenced by these factors.
The affects of prisonization is different on each individual. Many factors come in to play to determine how much of an affect prisonization will have on an individual. According to Clemmers there are five factors determine how much of an affect prisonization will have on an individual. The first is the type of personality an individual had before becoming incarcerated (Panzarella & Vona 2006). The second is the type and extent of relationship an individual has with people outside of prison (Panzarella & Vona 2006). The third factor is the type of groups an individual affiliates with inside of prison (Panzarella & Vona 2006). The fourth factor is by chance on what type of environment they get placed in (Panzarella & Vona 2006). The fifth factor is how accepting an individual is of the prison culture and dogma (Panzarella & Vona 2006).
The prison system has its own type of culture compared to the rest of society. It can be compared to an immigrant coming to a new country and assimilating in to the culture. Prisonization is the process in which an inmate learns the rules, laws, and culture of the prison system. The rate that it affects an individual will vary among each person. But there are universal factors that will affect everyone that goes through the prison system.
Panzarella, R., & Vona, D. (2006). Criminal Justice Masterworks: A History of Ideas about Crime, Law, Police, and Corrections. Carolina Academic Pr.
John Jay College Osman WaheedCJBS 415 01/23/2018