A Comparative Analysis of Organizational Structure and Inmate Subcultures in Institutions for Juvenile Offenders

Barry C. Feld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study provides a partial test of the importation and deprivation models of prisonization by examining inmate subcultures in ten different cottage units in four institutions for juvenile offenders. A typology of juvenile institutions based on both the correctional goals pursued and the methods of intervention and social control distinguishes four different treatment models used in institutions for juveniles. Matching and controlling for the effects of differences in inmates' background characteristics within and between settings, the study describes the relationships between the formal organizational structure and respective inmate culture. The study demonstrates a clear and consistent relationship between the formal and informal organizations: The more custodial and punitive settings had inmate cultures that were more violent, more hostile, and more oppositional than those in the treatment-oriented settings. The crucial organizational differences were in the extent to which staff members contained and controlled subterranean inmate violence by encouraging the communication of information about the activities within the inmate sub culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-363
Number of pages28
JournalCrime & Delinquency
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1981

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