chapter  1
20 Pages

Theoretical considerations of prison in general

There is in existence a small, but valuable, body of scientificliterature on closed prisons as a form of social organization. Despite differences in personnel and administrative forms, there is a striking similarity in the pictures presented by those studies (a similarity that extends to the much greater body of biographical and fictionalized literature on prisons). It therefore seems reasonable to attempt an outline of the main social and psychological characteristics of closed prisons. Even if this sketch goes no further than the existing analytic studies,' it will serve to indicate the premises of this empirical study and thus give warning of the biases that will have unwittingly crept into it. Our observations of Bristol Prison are not discussed until the next chapter.