Chapter 11 examines the institution of the prison and how it affects inmates and prison staff.

Topic: Prison Life

  • The United States has about 1,800 state and federal correctional institutions.
  • The prison is a “total institution” where everything is tightly controlled and
  • Supermax prison Pelican Bay State Prison is an example of a maximum- security prison that recalls the separate-and-silent systems of early U.S.
  • Generally, state prisons have at least three security levels: low, medium, and However, each state and the federal prison system has its own set of security-level classifications and specifications for each security level.
  • Federal correctional complexes are composed of several facilities with different missions and security levels located close to one another.
  • The five pains of imprisonment are: deprivation of liberty; deprivation of goods and services; deprivation of heterosexual relationships; deprivation of autonomy; and deprivation of security.
  • Although not all correctional systems have severe gang problems, gangs are a concern because without proper vigilance they can form and take partial control of a prison.
  • In the prison, collective behavior can not only have deadly consequences but also temporarily invert the social structure and shatter the bonds of social

Topic: Women in Prison

  • As of 2015, females made up about 7 percent of the state and federal prisoner
  • Women’s prisons are much like men’s prisons. Generally, women suffer many of the same pains of imprisonment as men. They have the same high-, medium-, and low-security levels with the same security features, such as fences, razor wire, and electronic detection systems, as men’s prisons.
  • The culture in women’s prisons is different from that in men’s prisons. Male inmates tend to be isolated, and their interactions with other inmates focus on control and domination. Female inmates are more concerned with forming relationships with each other and the staff.
  • A crucial element of female incarceration is the barrier it poses to proper health and reproductive care.

Topic: Courts and the Prison

  • Prior to the 1960s, courts did not intervene in prison or inmate affairs. This is known as the “hands-off doctrine.”
  • The constitutional sources of inmate rights include the Eighth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment provisions of due process and equal protection.


Topic: Working in the Prison

  • Guards, medical technicians, treatment specialists, administrators, secretaries, and clergy are examples of the types of staff who work in the prison.
  • The most prevalent staff position is that of the correctional officer.


Topic: Private Prisons

  • The first modern private prisons opened in the early 1980s.
  • Although private correctional facilities are big business, they have met with mixed success.