What are prison subcultures, and how do they influence prison life? How do they develop, and what purpose do they serve?
The term “prison subculture” refers to the traditions, ideas, perspectives, values, and ways of life that are prevalent among inmates of a certain institution. This subculture is affected by the culture of the jail as well as the both formal and informal entities that exist within the institution (Meko & Hacin, 2018). The hardships of incarceration were the first impetus for the formation of inmate subcultures. Subcultures can help us comprehend the assimilation of inmates, can help us evaluate how inmates are conforming to the environment of the prison, and can offer correctional staff with insight that can assist them govern the environment of the prison. In the days before the prisoners’ rights movement, correctional facilities tended to be more uniform, and every convict was subjected to the same restrictions. After the prisoners’ rights movement, several restrictions were eased or eliminated entirely. For instance, inmates have greater freedom of movement around the facilities, and this autonomy might contribute to a greater sense of community among the inmates (Zhang, 2021). Around the middle of the 1970s, life behind prison walls started to mirror life outside: it became racially, ideologically, and religiously segregated (Ek, 2020). Cont…
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