The specification says ‘explanations’, which means you’ll need to know at least two explanations.
1. The importation model – this explains aggression in prisons. In brief, it says aggression occurs because of characteristics that prisoners bring inside with them. Cheeseman (2003) said that men in prison have a certain way of behaving (probably why they went to prison in the first place!) and they then apply that behaviour to their new institutional setting. Toch (1997) says this: all prisons inherit their subcultural sediments from the street corners that supply them with clients. This suggests that young people can be aggressive both on the street and in prison.
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Values such as not betraying each other or being trustworthy amongst other criminals are important. Refer to fellow thieves in prison as primary reference group.
* THE CONVICT SUBCULTURE: Have been raised in prison system. Look for positions of power or influence within the system. Primary reference system is fellow convicts. This group are most likely to turn to aggression. Influenced by deprivation prior to being imprisoned and bring values of that subculture inside with them.
* THE CONVENTIONAL OR 'STRAIGHT' SUBCULTURE: Tend to be one-time offenders. Weren't part of a criminal subculture before going inside. Rejects both other groups within prison and identify more with prison officers and staff. Tend not to be very aggressive whilst in prison.
2. Situational models – these say that the prison environment plays a part in the aggression shown by prisoners. Situational factors can be:
* Organisational – leadership, policies and procedures
* Physical – security level, available resources
* Staff characteristics – gender, level of experience, relationship to and interactions with prisoners.
The DEPRIVATION MODEL is a situational model. Sykes (1958) did a study which looked at the deprivation that prisoners suffered during their incarceration. Sykes thought that prison subculture originates from within the institution, not outside it. Sykes describes five deprivations that arise from ‘the indignities and degradations suffered by becoming an inmate’.
These deprivations lead prisoners to become stressed, and sometimes they act aggressively towards others to release this stress. Aggression in prisons is seen as a way that prisoners can gain some control over the social order imposed on them in prison.
Other situational models:
* The Popcorn model (Folger & Skarlicki, 1995) – the first individual to act aggressively is like the first piece of popcorn that explodes in the saucepan. The best thing to study here is what led the ‘heat’ to be applied in the first place. No corn ‘pops’ without heat. If the prison environment is sorted out, then prisoners will not become aggressive. This model suggests that prisoners who don’t bring the values of aggression into prison with them can become aggressive if enough ‘heat’ is applied.
* The Management model (Dilulio 1987) – this says that aggression in prison occurs as a result of...