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Life of an Inmate. By: Gabriella Stratford. defined as “a person deprived of liberty under involuntary restraint, confinement, or custody ”. “You do the crime, you do the time”. Sent to Jail/Prison a s punishment for b reaking the law. Who is an Inmate?.

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Life of an Inmate

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Life of an inmate

Life of an Inmate

By: Gabriella Stratford

Who is an inmate

  • defined as “a person deprived of liberty under involuntary restraint, confinement, or custody”.

  • “You do the crime, you do

    the time”.

  • Sent to Jail/Prison

    as punishment for

    breaking the law.

Who is an Inmate?


  • Taken to Central Processing

  • Stripped, disinfected, and thoroughly searched

  • Receive “Resident’s Handbook”

    • Meal times

    • Disciplinary Regulations

    • Visitation Guidelines

  • Paired With cell mate


Prison culture

  • Inmates decide what is acceptable behavior, not officers.

  • Prisonization: Adaptation to the prison culture

    • Donald Clemmer

  • 4 Personalities:

    • Professional Criminals “Do Time”, speedy freedom

    • Young inmates find security inside prison instead of out, “Jailing” themselves

    • Some take advantage of prison programs, want improvement, “Gleaning”

    • “Disorganized” inmates: mentally disabled, low level of intelligence

Prison Culture

Prison culture cont

  • Inmates create their own societies

  • Inmates develop own way of communication

  • Establish methods of determining power

    • Violence

  • Developed own economy

    • No currency, instead use bartering of

      • Food

      • Contraband

      • Sexual Favors

Prison Culture Cont.

Some examples of contraband

Some Examples of Contraband

The language of the convicted

  • Ace: “Dollar”

  • Base Head: Cocaine addict

  • B.G.: “Baby Gangster”

  • Booty Bandit:Sexual Predator, preys on weaker inmates

  • Bumpin’ Titties: Fighting

  • Catch Cold: To get killed

  • Chiva: Heroin

  • Diddler: Child Molester

  • Green Light: Gang term for contract killing

The Language of the Convicted

Prison language cont

  • Hacks: Correctional officers

  • Jug-Up: mealtime

  • Lugger: inmate who smuggles in and possesses illegal substances

  • Punk: Inmate subject to rape

  • Shank: Knife

  • Tits-up: Inmate who has died

  • Topped: Committed suicide

Prison Language cont.

Prison culture cont1

  • Prison culture influenced by inmates’

    • Values

    • Experiences

    • Beliefs

  • Today’s inmate is more likely to behave violently behind bars

Prison Culture Cont.

Changes in institutions

  • Dramatic change in the ages of inmate population

  • State and federal prisoners over 40 increased

  • Factors:

    • Older offenders

    • High rates of recidivism

    • Aging of U.S. population as a whole

Changes in Institutions

Older inmates more costs

  • American Civil Liberties Union, costs 3x as much to house an elderly inmate

  • As they get older, the more health problems they have

  • The more health problems they have, more money needed to treat them

Older Inmates = More Costs

Prisoner x

  • In 2009, California Department of Corrections debated on whether or not an inmate serving 14 years for robbery suffering from heart disease should be allowed to go through a heart transplant. If this prisoner were to get the transplant, it would cost about $1 million to provide follow-up care. During this time, 4,000 Americans were on the list for a heart. Once word got out, many tax-payers were furious. They thought it was unthinkable to give treatment to a criminal before many other law-abiding citizens. Dr. Lawrence Schneiderman, a medical professor at the University of California, said, “It’s reasonable to think the benefit we are giving him will be experienced by him with plenty of life left. Medically, we have no reason to deny him. Socially, he violated society, but not so severely that he gives up his right to experience medical care.”Thewife of the inmate told the press, “Since when is it unethical to save someone’s life?”

Prisoner X

Prisoner x cont

  • In 1976, however, the Unites States Supreme Court ruled that inmates, including prisoners on death row, have the same rights to medical attention as others.

    OUTCOME: On January 3, at Stanford University Medical Center, the prisoner received a heart transplant. However, his body rejected the heart and died within a year.

Prisoner X cont.

Rehabilitation and prison programs

  • Help inmates with problems

  • Rehabilitation centers to help with addictions

  • Prison Programs include:

    • Faith-based programs

    • Boot camp

    • Honor Program

    • Dogs in Jail

    • Drug Treatment

    • Anything that benefits the


Rehabilitation and Prison Programs

Life of an inmate

  • Some programs are limited.

  • Twenty-four hour psychiatric care for inmates suffering from mental illnesses are rare due to the high cost

  • Most rehab programs are at a cost benefit analysis

    • For each dollar spent on a program, how many dollars are being saved?

Education for inmates

  • Can receive their GED

  • take literacy courses

  • More than half of American prisons offer vocational training

    • a type of program that provides inmates a chance to obtain skills necessary to find a job when their time is up.

    • All these are meant to help ex-convicts to live a better life and lead them to a path to become law-abiding citizens.

    • Can be beneficial to financial needs:

      • Researchers at Washington State Institute for Public Policy estimated that every $1,182 spent for inmate vocational training saves $6,806 in future criminal justice costs and that every $962 spent on inmate education saves $5,306 in future criminal justice costs.

Education for Inmates

Prison violence

  • There are many instances that inmates have gone on strike, posing a threat to the safety of both officers and inmates.

  • Used to establish dominance and power among prisoners, can often lead in death.

  • About fifty-five inmates in state prisons and twenty-five inmates in local jails are murdered by fellow inmates each year.

  • It’s very common to see prisoners make weapons out of normal everyday items such as toothbrushes or handles to mops.

Prison Violence

Violent behavior

  • Humboldt State University's Lee H. Bowker has identified several reasons for violent behavior.

    1.Having a reputation of violence can eliminate an inmate as a target for violence and other assaults.

    2.Enhances self-image in an environment that does not care for other attributes.

    3.In some cases, can give sexual relief.

    4.Used to acquire goods through extortion or robbery

  • Other reasons: stress, overcrowded, tension between races, Violence is used to relieve tension.

Violent Behavior

Prison gangs

  • Play major role in prison life

  • Racial and ethnic identification is primary contributor to formation

  • Often extensions of street gangs

  • Large percentage of gang memberships are African American and Hispanic, however the majority of the gangs are white

  • Participate in illegal activities:

    • Prostitution

    • Selling of drugs

    • Loan sharking

    • Gambling

Prison Gangs

Aryan brotherhood

  • White gang

  • Formed in San Quentin State Prison in 1967

  • White protection against blacks

  • Allies: Mexican Mafia

  • Rivals: Black Guerrilla Family

Aryan Brotherhood

Mexican mafia

  • Mexican American/ Hispanic

  • Formed in Los Angeles in Deuel Vocational Institution in late 1950s

  • Allies: Aryan Brotherhood

  • Rivals: Black Guerrilla Family and

    La NuestraFamilia


Black guerrilla family

  • African American gang

  • Found in San Quentin State Prison in mid 1960’s

  • Allies: La NuestraFamilia

  • Rivals: Aryan Brotherhood

Black Guerrilla Family


  • African American gang

  • Originally a street gang in Los Angeles in 1960s

  • Formed in defense of the Crips

  • Allies: La NuestraFamilia

  • Rivals: Crips, Aryan Brotherhood


Women s prisons

  • Aren’t many differences between male and female prisons

  • Most women inmates are have low-income, undereducated, and unemployed

  • The dominant race of female inmates are African American, however the population of white convicts has increased in the last two decades

  • Popular charge: nonviolent drug charges or property crime.

  • history of sexual or physical abuse more likely to be imprisoned

  • It is said that 55% of all female inmates in jail report to have been a victim to abuse.

Women’s Prisons

Women s prison cont

  • About 1.7 million American children have a mother who is under correctional supervision

  • Only six states—California, Ohio, Indiana, Nebraska, New York, and Washington—provide facilities where inmates and their infant children can live with each other

  • The culture of women's prisons is very different than that of male prisons.

  • The atmosphere feels more like a high school than a prison. The women divide themselves into cliques, “lifters” at the top of the hierarchy and “untouchables” such as child abusers at the bottom

  • Unlike the secret economy in men's prisons where weapons and drugs are sought out and valued, the treasure contraband items for women are makeup, food and clothes.

Women’s Prison cont.

Works cited

  • Aos, Steven, Marna Geyer. Miller, and Elizabeth Drake. Evidence-based Public Policy Options to Reduce

  • Future Prison Construction, Criminal Justice Costs, and Crime Rates. Olympia, WA: Washington

  • State Institute for Public Policy, 2006. Print. 22 April 2013.

  • “Behind Bars II: Substance Abuse and America’s Prison Population” The National Center on

  • Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Print. 20 April 2013.

  • Bowker, Lee H. Prison Victimization. New York: Elsevier, 1981. Print. 19 April 2013.

  • "Caught in the Net: The Impact of Drug Policies on Women and Families." (2004): 18-19. Print.

  • 19 April 2013.

  • Clemmer, Donald. The Prison Community. Boston: Christopher, 1940. Print. 20 April 2013.

  • Gaines, Larry K., and Roger LeRoy Miller. Criminal Justice: Produced for Salt Lake

  • Community College. N.p.: Waddsworth, 2013. Print. 20 April 2013.

  • Goffman, Erving. Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates.

  • New York: Doubleday, 1961. Print. 20 April 2013.

  • Irwin, John. "Prisons in Turmoil." Google Books. Web. 18 April 2013.

  • Klein, Stuart B. ""Prisoners' Rights to Physical and Mental Health Care: A Modern Expansion of

  • the Eighth Amendment's Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause"" Fordham University Law Journal 7, Web. 17 April 2013.

  • Schirmer, Sarah, Ashley Nellis, and Marc Mauer. "Incarcerated Parents and Their Children:

  • Trends 1991-2007." Washington D.C.: The Sentencing Project, Feb. 2009. Print.

  • 20 April 2013.

Works Cited

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