Essay on Historical Prison Eras

633 Words Feb 25th, 2013 3 Pages
Throughout the years the way prisons are run has changed. Changes include social roles, informal behavior norms, and social solidarity. Prison history has three major eras the Big House, the correctional institution, and the contemporary prison.
In The Big House era criminals were known as “convicts” and the guards where known as “hacks” and they were both supposed to keep distance from each other. To make their time easier in the Big House, convicts developed their own social roles, informal codes of behaviors, and language. Inmates created the social role of the “real man” in which they were loyal and generous and tried to minimize friction among inmates. Inmates had a code and believes that was based on the following (1) Don’t interfere
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After time resentment developed, staff had promised programs and had not delivered them. Staff simply didn’t know how to conduct a correctional enterprise, or neither have the resources or staff to make a serious attempt at that task. Correctional institutions had promised to rehabilitate prisoners but most institutions provide no change in prisoners. Bartollas, 2002 describes the deprivation model as the prisoners attempt to adapt to the disadvantages imposed by incarceration. The importation model suggests that the influences that prisoners bring into effect their process of imprisonment. Bartollas concluded that the integration of the importation and deprivation models was needed to understand the impact of the prison culture on an inmate.
Lastly the contemporary prison developed more professionalism in their treatment towards inmates, while some staff members still abuse inmates this behavior is less evident in today’s prisons, where staff-on-inmate violence was a routine feature of daily life. The support for the inmate codes is also disappearing in the contemporary prison. The increased number of habitual offenders statutes has led to the graying of the prison population. A study revealed that inmates that adjusted most successfully to the prison’s environment encountered the most difficulty making the transition from institutional life to freedom (Bartollas, 2002).
Inmate world has changed from inhumane treatment of inmates to a more humanistic…