Living in Prison: A History of the Correctional System with An Insider's View

By Stephen Stanko; Wayne Gillespie et al. | Go to book overview

8

THE PRISON ENVIRONMENT

Stephen Stanko


INTRODUCTION

The majority of the public has no idea what goes on inside the typical state prison. They read the newspaper headlines about a crime or watch a news report about the sentencing of an individual. Most do not care to think any further than to hear the sentence given in relation to a crime committed. No matter what sentence is given, most in the American public will not believe it is “enough.”

I wrote this chapter to explain what it is like to “serve time.” The purpose of this chapter is to give an insight into the daily operations of a prison and the impact that it has upon those inmates living inside the walls day in and day out. Care has been taken to report each and every step that an in-mate has to take inside prison.


INSTITUTIONAL CUSTODY LEVELS

Most state correctional institutions are divided into levels (e.g., I, II, III, IV) that are designed in accordance with the classification level of the criminals they house. Starting with Level I institutions, which house “nonviolent” prisoners with sentences shorter in length, all the way to Level V institutions for Death Row, the rules and regulations remain the same, while the restrictions may vary. Inmates are afforded the ability during their sentence to advance to less restrictive institutions by advancing in their custody and security classifications, but it is important to realize and understand that no matter what institution an inmate resides in, he is still incarcerated. As long as the number mentioned earlier is active, there is no freedom.

The immediate visual identity of institutional levels is the number of perimeter fences that surround it. A Level I institution may have no fence

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Living in Prison: A History of the Correctional System with An Insider's View
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Part I - Justice: Introduction, History, and Philosophy 1
  • 1 - Crime and Justice in the United States 3
  • 2 - Justice and the Origin of Corrections 25
  • 3 - A Brief History of Corrections in America 43
  • Part II - Contemporary Correctional Issues 61
  • 4 - The Context of Imprisonment 63
  • 5 - Women and Prison 89
  • 6 - Prisoners' Rights and States' Responsibilities 111
  • Part III - Living in Prison: One Man's Journey 129
  • 7 - A Prisoner's Narrative 131
  • 8 - The Prison Environment 149
  • 9 - Surviving in Prison 171
  • Index 187
  • About the Authors 195
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