- Series Information
- The Oxford Handbook of Prisons and Imprisonment
- List of Contributors
- The Imprisonment Boom of the Late Twentieth Century: Past, Present, and Future
- Who Goes to Prison?
- Mass Incarceration and Conditions of Confinement
- Exploring Imprisonment across Cross-National Contexts
- Theories of Mass Incarceration
- Subcultural Adaptations to Incarceration
- The Real Gangbanging Is in Prison
- Women in Prison
- Impact of Incarceration on Families and Communities
- The Two Cultures: Correctional Officers and Key Differences in Institutional Climate
- Measuring and Explaining Inmate Misconduct
- Prison Riots
- Drugs and Prisons
- A General Model of Harm in Correctional Settings
- Understanding the Contours of Prison Disciplinary Procedures
- The Effects of Administrative Segregation: A Lesson in Knowledge Cumulation
- A Comparison of British and American Policies for Managing Dangerous Prisoners: A Question of Legitimacy
- Adult Offender Assessment and Classification in Custodial Settings
- Principles of Effective Intervention with Incarcerated Offenders
- Employment and Vocation Programs in Prison
- Treating Sex Offenders in Prison
- The Multiple Faces of Reentry
- Implementing Prison-based Treatment Programs
- Preventing Suicide in Detention and Correctional Facilities
- Offenders with Mental Illness in Prison
- The Problem of Incarcerating Juveniles with Adults
- The Effect of Prisons on Crime
- Private Prisons in a New Environment
- Policy and Program Innovations in Prisons
- Useful versus Harmful Prison Policies
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter assesses how correctional officers exercise their authority over inmates. How officers influence prison climates is discussed in conjunction with their roles in impeding or facilitating the goals of confinement, and in particular their impact on a climate supportive of offender change. The authors draw from ethnography on prisons across the United Kingdom to explain some correctional officers’ distrust of managers, their cynicism toward correctional reform, and their alienation from liberal humanitarian goals. Examples of officer “cultures,” informal rules of conduct, and the origins of cultural values are identified toward the end of discussing how such values might shape inmates’ attitudes toward legal authority. An important question is whether the origins of these cultural values are structural and inherent in the prison, or whether these cultures differ so greatly across prisons that other explanations must play a part.
Alison Liebling PhD, is Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Cambridge and the Director of the Institute of Criminology’s Prisons Research Centre. Her most recent research explores the moral quality of prison life, and the changing nature of staff-prisoner and prisoner-prisoner relationships in high security prisons. She was awarded an ESRC–funded ‘Transforming Social Science’ research contract in 2012-14 to explore the location and building of trust in high security settings and is currently writing up that work, with colleagues. Her books include Prisons and their Moral Performance, The Effects of Imprisonment, Legitimacy and Criminal Justice, and The Prison Officer. She is a co-editor of Punishment and Society and the Oxford Clarendon Series on Criminology.
Deborah Kant is a PhD student at the Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University. Her thesis, entitled ‘Under threat? A social and occupational history of prison officers,’ is supervised by Prof. Alison Liebling. Previously, she worked as a research assistant at the Prisons Research Centre, University of Cambridge.
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