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Prisoner society in the era of hard drugs

Prisoner society in the era of hard drugs A telling indication of the decline of ethnographic prison sociology is the paucityof research on drugs and their influence on the prisoner social world. Based onlong-term fieldwork in a medium-security English prison, this article argues thatthe key components of prisoner social life are deeply imprinted by the presence andprevalence of hard drugs in and around the penal estate. After outlining the appealof heroin to prisoners, and the terms of the prison drugs economy, the article showshow heroin restructures status and social relations in prison in a number of ways.First, users are stigmatized, particularly when their consumption has consequencesthat violate established codes of inmate behaviour. Second, heroin grantsconsiderable power to those prisoners who deal it within prison, although this poweris not necessarily equivalent to respect. Third, heroin transforms the terms ofaffiliation that exist when drugs are scarce. Meanwhile, for those prisoners whoselives prior to incarceration have been dominated by drug addiction, the experienceof incarceration has a number of distinctive qualities. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Punishment & Society: The International Journal of Penology SAGE

Prisoner society in the era of hard drugs

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References (53)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
Copyright © by SAGE Publications
ISSN
1462-4745
eISSN
1741-3095
DOI
10.1177/1462474505057122
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

A telling indication of the decline of ethnographic prison sociology is the paucityof research on drugs and their influence on the prisoner social world. Based onlong-term fieldwork in a medium-security English prison, this article argues thatthe key components of prisoner social life are deeply imprinted by the presence andprevalence of hard drugs in and around the penal estate. After outlining the appealof heroin to prisoners, and the terms of the prison drugs economy, the article showshow heroin restructures status and social relations in prison in a number of ways.First, users are stigmatized, particularly when their consumption has consequencesthat violate established codes of inmate behaviour. Second, heroin grantsconsiderable power to those prisoners who deal it within prison, although this poweris not necessarily equivalent to respect. Third, heroin transforms the terms ofaffiliation that exist when drugs are scarce. Meanwhile, for those prisoners whoselives prior to incarceration have been dominated by drug addiction, the experienceof incarceration has a number of distinctive qualities.

Journal

Punishment & Society: The International Journal of PenologySAGE

Published: Oct 1, 2005

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