Attica Prison – Attica, New York (Source: Insideprison.Com)
“The term prisonization refers to the longer inmates are
incarcerated, the stronger their identification with inmate norms
and values, and the more difficulty they would have adjusting to
life once released.” -Dr. Dennis J. Stevens
Prisonization is dependent on two
different factors: #1 – The physical
institutional features of a prison
effect the inmates ability to adapt to
prison life. In the case of Stateville’s
“Roundhouse” design, prisoners are
watched all at once.
#2 – The individual characteristics of the
offender also effects how he or she adapts to
prison life. i.e. Drug use, anti-social behavior
etc. Often times overcrowding and other
agitating features such as those in California
State Prison, become normal inhibitors that
speed up the prisonization process.
-Wayne Gillespie Scholarly Publishing (Source: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov)
“Mock prison riot quelled”
Indigenous Influence Theory:
The first theory, or indigenous influence
theory, proposes that because of the lack of
liberties given to inmates, the subculture
of the prison environment develops.
Also known as the deprivation model.
Cultural Drift Theory: “Confiscated Knives, Pelican Bay State Prison”
The second theory, or cultural drift
theory, states that inmates bring with
them certain characteristics, either
positive or negative such as social
misbehavior or violent tendencies,
into the prison environment. This
creates a “street” atmosphere within
the prison itself. -Wayne Gillespie Scholarly Publishing (Source: Sfbappa.Org)
Out of 55 Federal prison inmates with little to no
prior experience (New), and 93 inmates with at least
one prior adult incarceration and 5 or more years in
prison (Experienced), the criminal identity in both
groups are tested using the Psychological Inventory
of Criminal Thinking Styles (PICTS).
Results conclude that a rise in criminal thinking
among new inmates from the time of initial
assessment until that of follow-up were observed
while inmates with experience in prison time
remained stable. Other conclusions also report
significant gains of criminal action from experienced
inmates when confronted with new inmates.
(Source: Glenn D. Walters, Federal Correction Institution, Sagepub.Com) (Source: Insidesocal.Com)
Both prisonization and
recidivism can be seen as if they
were effects of external,
generally social influences
which act upon the offender.
However, internal motivations
must also be considered a variable.
Chronic offenders often times
have “unconscious” motivators.
This splits perceptions of social
Reeves Prison Uprising (Source: Wordpress.Com) reality into two parts. One being
affection, and the other aggressive.
The result is an unconscious interaction between certain aspects of the prison
environment and varying personality and social disorders that are commonly
associated with pathological symptoms. This may involuntarily promote certain
rebellious feelings of a criminal mentality and appeal to inmates with antisocial
tendencies. The adapted subculture of the prison environment accelerates
recidivism rates and promotes criminal activity. (Source: Paul Hofer, United States Penitentiary,
Millions of women and children
of those incarcerated are subjected
to the Criminal Justice system when
visiting their friends or family in
prison. Especially poor minorities.
Often times, these women
experience restricted rights,
diminished resources, social
discrimination, and other
consequences of corrective
Visiting Room L.A. County, Sybil Brand Institute procedure.
Women’s Jail in Monterey Park
The “pains” of imprisonment are By having constant contact with the
felt, often times, just as harshly as correctional system, its in this way that
those in prison itself. a “secondary prisonization” occurs.
Of the 272,111 persons released from prisons in 15
States in 1994, an estimated 67.5% were rearrested
for a felony or serious misdemeanor within 3 years,
46.9% were reconvicted, and 25.4% were resentenced
to prison for a new crime.
Within 3 years of release, 2.5% of released rapists
were rearrested for another rape, and 1.2% of those
who had served time for homicide were arrested for a
Sex offenders were less likely than non-sex
offenders to be rearrested for any offense. 43
percent of sex offenders versus 68 percent of non-
Sex offenders were about four times more likely
than non-sex offenders to be arrested for another
The 272,111 offenders discharged in 1994 sex crime after their discharge from prison. 5.3
accounted for nearly 4,877,000 arrest percent of sex offenders versus 1.3 percent of non-
charges over their recorded careers. sex offenders.
In 1971, there was a study done
on 276 adult male felons from a
maximum security penitentiary.
The purpose of the study was to
test the viability of two available
theories. The “deprivation model”,
as mentioned before, and the
The importation model states
that intra-institutional processes
and influences are vital but also
accepts the idea that outside
influences also come into play and
that many of these instances are
Observation of a chain gang (Source: Abc.net.au) out of correctional officers control.
Factors that were observed:
Social classes of origin, social class of attainment, pre-prison involvement in criminality, extent of
contact with society during his or her confinement, and the inmates specific perceptions of their post-
prison lives. Result:
Then correlated with: A conceptualized version of the Importation model succeeds over
The measure of prisonization. the deprivation model. Is an overemphasis on intra-institutional
causation misleading? (Source: Charles W. Thomas, Department of
Sociology, Virginia Commonwealth Univ.)