Living inside Prison Walls: Adjustment Behavior

Living inside Prison Walls: Adjustment Behavior

Living inside Prison Walls: Adjustment Behavior

Living inside Prison Walls: Adjustment Behavior

Synopsis

Are advantaged offenders defenseless against the harshness of prison life? Based upon a qualitative study of the prison adjustment of advantaged offenders--those who, prior to prison, possessed college degrees and held high status occupations with commensurately high incomes--this book challenges the "special sensitivity" hypothesis and concludes that these offenders adjust well to incarceration. The author compared a group of advantaged offenders to a similar group of nonadvantaged offenders, both drawn from New York State prisons, and discovered that the advantaged offenders exhibited little (if any) engagement in institutional misconduct. They also adopted effective coping strategies.

Excerpt

The criminal justice system is a very complex institution in the United States and is composed of a clearly identifiable structure and both a formal and an informal process of crime control. in the most simplistic terms, there are three main structural components of the justice system in the United States: law enforcement, courts, and corrections (both institutional and community-based). Additionally, there are other structural elements that comprise the system, such as victim service agencies and a related but mainly separate juvenile justice system. Thousands of agencies at the local, county, state, and federal levels of government, as well as in the private sector, join together to form the framework of the American criminal justice system. in most respects, the numerous agencies function as a system, a unified whole. But fragmentation and conflict are also commonplace, causing some critics to hold that it is not a system at all.

Not only can criminal justice be characterized as a system, but it is also a process, fashioned as a series of stages, which formally begins when law enforcement officials make arrests and ends at the correctional stage. Viewed as a process, criminal justice is an intricate and complex network of interrelated decisions made by thousands of personnel vested with the authority to make such determinations about offenders. Each such decision either propels an individual law violator further into the system, or diverts an offender to less formal avenues of crime control, or removes an offender altogether.

The majority of these decisions are guided by law, because criminal justice is, first and foremost, a legal system. Administrative rules combine with the plethora of substantive and procedural laws to constitute the framework within which all agencies and personnel operate in their decision-making capacity. of course, the criminal justice system is not that simple. Many criminal justice scholars write . . .

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