chapter  3
22 Pages

Peacemaking and beyond

The prison officer’s everyday duties
ByLuigi Gariglio

This chapter illustrates the day-to-day tools of negotiation prison officers would use on the wing while performing their duties, in order to routinely administer and control those in custody. It introduces the complexity of managing the precarious status quo that characterised wing life, showing how the officers' routines were interspersed with interventions by more or less proactive wing officers. Prison officers' discretion emerged in the earliest studies of the prison. The issue was clearly pointed out, for example, in the classic prison publications of Clemmer and Sykes and is discussed thoroughly in The Prison Officer. Persuasion is a potentially valuable tool of negotiation between officers and prisoners in the field, yet it works only intermittently. Officers would say that prisoners would do whatever was required to pursue their own goals. From the prisoners' point of view, however, their legitimate requests were not always addressed properly and in consistent ways.