W3 CJS 231 Examining Social Structure Theory Paper

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Examining Social Structure Theory Heather Huyser CJS 231 December 22, 2014 Christopher Hammond Examining Social Structure Theory For the purpose of this paper in examining theories, I have chosen to view the Tent City, AZ video. “Located in the desert near downtown Phoenix, Tent City houses 2,000 inmates in canvas tents” (Films Media Group, 2007). Conditions are difficult for the inmates, and since there are no prison bars, maintaining control over the inmates is a constant concern for the guards (Films Media Group, 2007). I will show that the content of the video should be appropriately acknowledged as well as studied using a social structure theoretical application. I will review the social disorganization theory, the strain theory,…show more content…
The culture conflict theory is supported in the video in the aspect of racial segregation. This causes power and status struggles between the racial groups as they are struggling to survive their incarceration while attempting to maintain some form of self-worth. Primary Subject of Video The primary subject of this video is keeping control of the facility with the use of zero tolerance policies for the inmates of Tent City. It focuses on a new inmate named Ryan Merlina, who was “convicted of forgery, burglary, and most recently, possession of methamphetamine” (Films Media Group, 2007). Merlina, who has a long history of drug use and has been in and out of the juvenile system for a considerable amount of his teen years, at age nineteen came to Tent City, an adult facility (Films Media Group, 2007). In addition to the videos depiction of the circumstances faced by staff and inmates, it chronicles Merlinas’ personal struggles with his journey through incarceration at Tent City. On an Internet video, Films Media Group (2007) states that, the court offered Merlina a reduced sentence in exchange for him pleading guilty. “If he behaves himself, he'll serve just six months at Tent City. But if he messes up, he'll get 12 years in state prison” (Films Media Group, 2007). At Tent City, the inmates are not allowed to have certain things such as sugar, tobacco, drugs, and weapons. The prison system employs the Special Response Team
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