INMATES' ADJUSTMENT TO PRISON SUBCULTURE: A NEW MODEL AND A NEW...
INMATES' ADJUSTMENT TO PRISON SUBCULTURE: A NEW MODEL
AND A NEW PERSPECTIVE
RAM AHUJA
The adjustment of deviants in prison subculture was earlier examined and verified in
terms of the Prisonisation concept or the inmate value system in prisons. Rejecting the
adequacy of this perspective on the basis of an empirical study conducted in three prisons,
this paper suggests a new Self-image Model for analysing Inmates' reformation. It also
presents a new perspective for restructuring prisons to make them effective correctional
institutions.
Dr. Ram Ahuja is Professor and Head of the Sociology Department, University of
Rajasthan, Jaipur.
I
to the subcultural theory (Cohen), he is
pressurised by his membership of a deviant
Three perspectives have been mainly subculture; and according to the ecological
used by sociologists in the last few decades theory (Shaw and McKay), he is pressurised
in analysing deviance: functionalist-struc-
by his presence in the area of social dis-
turalist, interactionist and Marxist. The organisation.
functionalist-structuralist perspective looks
The interactionist perspective, contrary
for the source of deviance in the nature of to the functionalist-structuralist perspective,
society rather than in the biological or psy-
directs attention away from the deviant as
chological nature of the individual. Func-
such and the motivations, pressures and
tionalists argue that deviance is a normal social forces which are supposed to direct
and necessary part of all societies as it per-
his behaviour. Instead, it focusses upon the
forms positive functions for social systems interaction between the deviant and those
and contributes to the maintenance and who define him as deviant. The interaction-
well-being of societies. The function of ist perspective examines how and why par-
punishment is not to remove crime in so-
ticular individuals and groups are defined
ciety but to maintain the collective senti-
as deviants and the effects of such a defini-
ments so that they do not lose their force tion upon their future actions. The inter-
to control behaviour. However, functional-
actionist approach (Howard Becker, Edwin
ists have not explained why particular indi-
Lemert) emphasises the importance of the
viduals appear to be more prone to deviance meanings the various actors bring to and
than others. The answer to this question has develop within the interaction situation. It
been provided by structuralists.
(interactionist perspective) comes closer to a
According to structuralist perspective, phenomenological view of deviant in the
deviance results not from 'Pathological per-
sense that it emphasises on the deviant's
sonalities' but from the culture and structure reacting to forces which are external to him-
of society itself and by forces beyond the self and largely beyond his control.
individual's control. Three sociological theo-
From a Marxian perspective, the basis
ries in this perspective are considered im-
of deviance is the private ownership of the
portant in explaining deviance: structural, forces of production and all that that en-
subcultural and ecological. According to tails. The radical criminologists and criti-
the structural theory (Merton, Cloward and cal theorists have come to view deviance in
Ohlin), the deviant is pressurised by his terms of its meaningfulness to the deviant
position in the social structure; according action and argue for the abolition of inequa-

298
RAM AHUJA
lities in wealth and power for preventing terms of the rules and standards which they
deviance.
have set.
Like change in approach in understanding
Internalisation of values of the inmate
the causes of deviance, there has been system takes place in stages. Though
change in the approach in dealing with the Clemmer (1940: 299) has pointed out six
deviants also. But the task that we have set stages in this process we identify only three
for this paper is not to assess the rationa-
important stages:
lity of these divergent viewpoints but to
accept correctionalism as irretrievably (i) Deidentification: This involves the
bound up with the identification of devia-
use of batons, slaps, kicks and offensive and
nce with pathology (view consistent with abusive language by the petty prison offi-
traditional criminology but contrary to cri-
cials before and after shoving the new
tical criminology) and examine the relation-
recruits in to the barracks when they (re-
ship between prison structure and resocialisa-
cruits) try to give either firm or inaudible
tion of prisoners. Specifically, our object is answers about their offence and/or the
to examine the inmate value system in pri-
background or make a meek protest, and
sons, test the validity of the concept of thus make them (recruits) realise that jail
prisonisation and suggest an alternative officials are all powerful. The new recruit
model for explaining the adjustment of in-
is herded into a barrack with 25 to 30 other
mates in prisons.
inmates and is forced to face indignity in
the extensive social control exercised by
II
the custodians. Inmate's life, ranging from
eating and working to sleeping, is subject
The interactionists view institutions for to a vast number of regulations. Being
the treatment of deviance as a further set of stripped of his autonomy, inmate comes to
links in a long chain of interactions which consider himself as weak, helpless and a
confirm the label of deviance for the indi-
dependent individual.
viduals so labelled. For example, in the
(ii) Initiation: This involves learning the
prison pressure is placed via a series of language of murderers, thieves, rapists, se-
interactions upon the inmate to accept the xual deviants and toughs while living in
institution's definition of himself. Upon the barracks and developing new values by
entry, he begins a series of degradations, hearing their (other inmates') stories of
humiliations and profanities of self. His crime records. When the inmate finds the
self is systematically, if often unintentional-
privileged few eating meat surreptitiously
ly, mortified." This 'mortification' process cooked and soaked in half a bottle of rum
strips the inmate of the various supports when he himself is eating a morsel of boiled
which helped to maintain his former self-
lentil and a few half-baked chapatis, some
concept. Once the entry phase is over, the singing bawdy songs in one corner and others
inmate settles down to an endless round of being forced by the homosexuals to suc-
'mortifying experiences'. Each day is strictly cumb to their prurient interests, he is de-
timetabled into a set of compulsory activi-
prived of the sense of security and faced
ties controlled by the staff. The inmate is with new anxieties. Realising that the de-
allowed little freedom of movement, few privations and frustrations of prison life
opportunities to show initiative or take de- must be somehow alleviated, the inmate
cisions. Throughout his stay, his actions are accepts the prevalent 'inmate code' and seeks
scrutinised and assessed by the staff in his own gain.

INMATES' ADJUSTMENT TO PRISON SUBCULTURE
299
(iii) Transformation: This involves in-
tion process in prison. In this study, 252
mate's talking of his rights after spending prisoners were interviewed in three maxi-
several months in the prison. Being fre-
mum-security prisons in one Indian State.
quently reminded of his moral unworthiness, These penal institutions receive prisoners of
he feels he is no longer trusted and his every 16 + years of age and have a capacity of
act is viewed with suspicion by the officials. accommodating up to 800 inmates.
He, therefore, develops new values and
The prisoners in each prison were group-
attitudes to ward off these attacks and avoid ed into six categories on the basis of the
their introjection.
term of imprisonment: prisoners with less
Though the basic tenets of the inmate than 6 months' imprisonment, 6 to 12
code are not always followed by all inma-
months' imprisonment, 1 to 2 years' impri-
tes, and several inmates many-a-time deviate sonment, 2 to 5 years' imprisonment, 5 to
from them without severe criticism or 10 years' imprisonment, and 10 + years'
punishment by the subculture, they do pro-
imprisonment. On stratified random sample
vide a value system for most of the inma-
basis, 15 per cent of the total convicted
tes most of the time. According to Clemmer inmates from each category in Prison 'A',
(1940: 301), the degree to which an inmate 20 per cent from each category in Prison
adjusts to the inmate code, and whether or 'B' and 10 per cent from each category in
not his complete prisonisation takes place Prison 'C were selected for the interview.
is related to his age, criminality, term of The prisoners were further classified on the
imprisonment, type of relationships he had basis of crime characteristics and personal
before imprisonment, i.e. 'socialised' rela-
characteristics. On the former basis, they
tionships during pre-penal life, kind and were classified according to the type of
extent of relationships which he has conti-
offence, term of total sentence, term served
nued with persons outside the (prison) in the jail, term yet to be spent in the jail,
walls, types of his cell-mates and inmates and earlier conviction. On the latter basis,
in work-gang, capacity for integration into they were classified according to age, edu-
a prison primary group or semi-primary cation, marital status, occupation, monthly
group, and nature of recreational activities income, and rural-urban background. The
in the prison. He has, however, maintained sample was so chosen that it represented all
that every man who enters the penitentiary categories of inmates with respect to the
feels the influences of universal factors of above characteristics. In addition to the
prisonisation (Clemmer, 1940: 299-300). prisoners, two categories of prison staff-
Wheeler (1962: 158) put Clemmer's ideas to custodial officers and treatment officers —
an empirical test and his analysis provided were also interviewed.
strong support for Clemmer's hypotheses.
Acceptance and Rejection of Prison and
The Study
Inmate Norms
This author conducted one study between
The acceptance and/or rejection of pri-
1977 and 1980 with the main objective of son and/or inmate norms by the inmates
examining the effectiveness and the effects in our study was analysed by classifying
of imprisonment. The research also aimed inmates into four groups on the basis of
at testing Clemmer's theory of prisonisation, attachment to prison and inmate norms. On
studying different temporal aspects of the this basis, the following four types of inma-
prison culture and evaluating decriminalisa-
tes were identified: (i) Conformists, who

300
RAM A H U M
identified only with conventional prison the three types of responses together, one-
norms and outrightly rejected inmate norms, fourth inmates (24.1 per cent) can be cate-
were bound by loyalty to staff, and had gorised as conformists, two-fifths (41.8 per
great contacts with those inmates who re-
cent) as non-conformists, one-fourth (27.3
jected inmate norms, (2) Partial Conformists, per cent) as partial conformists, and one-
who partially accepted prison norms and fifteenth (6.8 per cent) as isolationists. It
partially inmate norms, were bound by may be inferred from this that prisons de-
loyalty sometimes to inmates and sometimes criminalise only about one-fourth of the
to staff according to own advantage, and prisoners, or that prisons do not function
had a wide range of contacts with both as correctional institutions for more than
prison officials and inmates, (3) Non-con-
half of the inmates.
formists, who identified with inmate norms,
were bound by loyalty to inmates, and had Adaptive patterns
great contacts with inmates who rejected
prison norms, and were relatively isolated
To study the nature and extent of absorp-
from staff contacts, (4) Isolationists, who tion or rejection of the prison and the in-
rejected both prison and inmate norms, mate codes, or to study conformity to staff
were bound by no loyalty either to staff or role expectations, the respondents were
to inmates, and avoided contacts with both asked to evaluate a series of 15 questions
prison officials and inmates.
in two different hypothetical situations. Five
This typology was considered significant questions referred to one situation of life
because it explained not only the personal outside prison while 10 questions were relat-
orientations of the inmates but also their ed to another situation of behaviour in
attitudes towards self and others. The four prison (Ahuja, 1981: 44-45). Two different
types of inmates were identified in our study types of situations were taken to compare
(Ahuja, 1981: 41) on the basis of their the inmates' support for law-abiding values
responses to 8 questions included in the in the prison with their values in civilian
questionnaire, of which 3 reflected inmates' roles outside the prison. This was based on
loyalty to staff or inmates, 3 reflected inma-
the assumption that those who supported
tes' identification with prison or inmate law-abiding values before imprisonment
norms, and 2 reflected inmates' contacts must support prison values after the impri-
with officials or inmates.
sonment too. If there is difference between
The responses revealed that about one-
the two types of values, it is because of
third respondents (36.8 per cent) identified the impact of inmate system and the inter-
with prison norms, about one-third (30.7 nalisation of the inmate values, or the
per cent) with inmate norms and about one-
result of the phenomenon referred to as
third (32.5 per cent) with both prison and 'prisonisation' by Clemmer.
inmate norms. One-fifth respondents (19.6
The inmates were asked to indicate their
per cent) were loyal to staff, a little less reactions for each situation by tick-marking
than half (46.3 per cent) to inmates, and the appropriate number on a five-cate-
about one-third (34.1 per cent) to both staff gory justified-unjustified continuum. A 5-
and inmates. One-fifth respondents (18.3 point scale was used and weights of + 2,
per cent) had contacts with only officials, a + 1 , 0, —1 and —2 were assigned to the
little less than half (45.2 per cent) only strongly justified, justified, neutral (don't
with inmates, and about one-third (36.5 per know), unjustified and strongly unjustified
cent) with both officials and inmates. Taking categories respectively. The scores were

INMATES' ADJUSTMENT TO PRISON SUBCULTURE
301
summed over the total items (pertaining to
Several observations can be made on the
behaviour inside and outside the jail) with basis of this data: First, the rate of absorp-
possible scores ranging from positive to tion of inmate norms (48 per cent) appeared
negative. The positive scores indicated ad-
to be about the same as that of absorption
justment by conformity to the inmate norms of the prison norms (45.0 per cent). Second-
while negative scores indicated adjustment ly, almost all those inmates who accepted
by conformity to staff role expectations.
law-abiding values pertaining to behaviour
Forty-eight per cent respondents obtained in civilian roles before coming to prison
positive scores (i.e. conformed to inmate also accepted the prison norms after coming
norms), 45.0 per cent got negative scores to prison. Thirdly, since the degree of con-
(i.e. conformed to staff role expectations) formity to inmate norms was low in 52.0
and 7.0 per cent got zero score (i.e. remain-
per cent cases and high in only 3.4 per cent
ed neutral) in the ten statements pertaining cases, and similarly since the degree of con-
to behaviour in the jail; while 40.5 per cent formity to prison norms was low in 44.2
secured positive scores, 57.5 per cent got per cent cases and high in only 15.0 per
negative scores, and 2.0 per cent got zero cent cases, it could be inferred that in rea-
score in the five statements pertaining to lity, most of the inmates remain in an
values related to civilian roles before com-
ambiguous position in so jar as accepting or
ing to jail.
rejecting of prison and/or inmate norms is
The above results do not give strong concerned. Finally, the processes operating
support to Clemmer's proposition that every within prison produced a pattern of adjust-
man who enters the penitentiary undergoes ment that did not appear to be much con-
prisonisation to some extent. Only about sistent with Clemmer's observations on in-
half of the inmates adjust themselves in the mate socialisation, that when new entrants
prison by adopting the inmate culture. This, in prison mix with the old inmates, slowly
however, does not mean that the inmates and gradually they come to share their
who do not adopt the norms and codes of folkways, mores, dogmas, sentiments and
the inmate world do not remain criminal-
traditions more or less unconsciously, ulti-
istic. Such inmates may continue to be much mately leading to their integration into the
more criminalistic than the inmates who inmate scheme of life. But this also does
become socialised to inmate culture.
not mean that the culture and social orga-
nisation of the prisons is necessarily con-
Taking only ten statements pertaining to ducive to the process of resocialisation of
the behaviour of the respondents in the the prisoners.
prison and assigning scores to their res-
ponses, our study showed that amongst 121 Temporal Aspects of Adaptive Pattern
inmates who secured 'plus' scores (i.e. who
conformed to inmate norms), the degree of
We also analysed the absorption of in-
conformity to inmate norms was low in mate/prison code or the internalisation of
52.0 per cent cases, medium in 44.6 per the prison culture in terms of certain select-
cent cases and high in 3.4 per cent cases. ed factors to test the validity of Clemmer's
On the negative side, amongst the 133 in-
and Wheeler's hypotheses. We concentrated
mates who secured 'minus' scores (i.e. who on five factors, namely, length of time
conformed to official norms), the degree of served, phase of prison career, age, nature
conformity to prison norms was low in of crime and involvement in informal group
44.2 per cent cases, medium in 40.8 per cent life. Conclusions pertaining to all these
cases, and high in 15.0 per cent cases.
aspects of adaptive pattern were as follows:

302
RAM AHUJA
(1) Conformity to the inmate code and
young prisoners (below 35 years)
to the prison norms in the first five
than in the middle-aged group (above
years of prison life was about the
35 years).
same. However, after spending five
(5) Persons committing felonies do not
years in the prison, conformity to
necessarily internalise more fully a
the inmate code decreased. Thus,
value system built upon the rejection
Clemmer's hypothesis that longer
of the prison norms.
the duration of stay of the prisoner
in the prison, higher the degree of
(6) The higher the informal involvement
his prisonisation (1971: 95) was not
with the inmates rejecting the prison
supported.
norms, the higher will be the inter-
nalisation of inmate values and vice
(2) The percentage of inmates who con-
versa. This supports Clemmer's pro-
formed to inmate norms in the last
position (1940: 302) that higher de-
phase of six months when they were
gree of prisonisation is related to
about to be released was very low
higher degree of involvement in the
(6.4 per cent), showing thereby that
informal life of the inmate commu-
inmates appeared to shed the prison
nity. It also supports Wheeler's hy-
culture before they left the prison.
pothesis (1971: 156) that both the
speed and degree of prisonisation are
(3) Wheeler's finding (1962: 159) that a
a function of informal inmate in-
large percentage of inmates were
volvement.
strongly opposed to staff norms dur-
ing the last stage of their confine-
ment than during the first stage was Adequacy of Prisonisation Model
not supported (8.2 per cent in late
phase against 21.8 per cent in early
Taking together the above-mentioned five
phase). When conformity to prison temporal aspects of adjustment of inmates
norms in the three phases (early, to the prison subculture, it could be con-
middle and late) was represented cluded that all hypotheses of Clemmer and
graphically, we got inverted V-shap-
Wheeler pertaining to determinants of pri-
ed trend. This did not support sonisation are not fully correct, though
Wheeler's finding (1971: 99) that a Clemmer's prisonisation theory stands sup-
U-shaped distribution of high con-
ported. For example, age and serious nature
formity responses exists over the of crime do not appear to have significant
three time-periods.
relationship with prisonisation, length of
time served has partial relationship, while
(4) The number of middle-aged persons prison-career phase and informal group life
accepting inmate norms (58.1 per do affect the acceptance and/or rejection of
cent) was about the same as that of the inmate norms.
the young persons (59.1 per cent). It,
As such, through prisonisation model, we
therefore, cannot be hypothesised are not in a position to answer important
that the young are more maladjusted questions like what types of inmates follow
than the middle-aged. This rejects the pattern of prisonisation, or what types
Wolfgang's hypothesis that a signifi-
of inmates attach themselves more to prison
cantly higher proportion of adjusted norms, or what conditions lead to one pro-
prisoners is found in the group of cess rather than to the other, or can prison

INMATES' ADJUSTMENT TO PRISON SUBCULTURE
303
authorities exert control over the processes of significance. We can briefly understand
by policy decisions? Thus, since prisonisa-
each of these four components of the model
tion model is inadequate in explaining ad-
separately.
justment and reformation pattern in prison,
(i) Self-image: Self-image is the inherent
we have to search for some new model ontological conception of self which is
which may adequately explain socialisation gained by the individual through his inter-
within prison-walls. We present below a actions with his surroundings, specially with
new 'Self-Image Model' in this context.
the relevant others around him. The self
image of an inmate in a prison as a confor-
III
mist or a deviant, as a good man or a bad
man, as one who has harmed society or
Self-image Model
has been harmed by society is crucial in
his reformation. When a person violates a
Borrowing Parson's view, reformation has law and commits a crime, he tries to ex-
to be understood in terms of prisoners' per-
plain the reason for this to himself This
sonality systems, social structure of prisons reason of explaining himself to himself will
and the normative system of inmates. The have nothing to do with sociological or
self-image model not only leans heavily on psychological theories of causes of crime
these three sub-systems but it also takes into because they are unknown to him. Besides
consideration the recent dominant theory of this self image of being guilty or innocent
deviant behaviour, namely, 'Naturalistic and being responsible or not for the crime
Theory of Deviance' which views deviant for which he has been penalised, he also
acts as 'interactional productions'.
develops an image of the self on the basis
The self-image Model is based on the of treatment he receives from others in the
assumption that reformation in prisons can prison and the attention he gets from his
be studied by analysing and assessing: relatives and friends outside the prison. He
(i) social structure of prison (ii) inmates' tries to find out reasons why he was praised
personalities, and (iii) inmates' normative by his friends and relatives before commit-
system. This model has four elements: (a) ting crime and why the same people avoid
self-image of a prisoner (b) value conformity him today. He tries to find out what would
which deals with a prisoner's detachment have happened if he had not been imprison-
from the inmate value system and attach-
ed, why and how is he different from other
ment to prison value system and which inmates, why some inmates shun him and
doesn't have any overt manifestations, (c) others attract him and why jail officials
actual conformity to norms, and (d) pri-
regard him as a bad person or a good per-
soner's social prestige among other inma-
son. When the reasons prove to be puzzling
tes, jail officials and in the outside commu-
or evasive, the ontological introspection
nity. With these four elements, the model may make him a confused person. This
could be described as:
confusion may result in 'role strain' which
Reformation = Self-image + value for may ultimately force him to deviate from
conformity to norms + actual conformity the 'expected role' in the prison which in
to norms + social prestige.
turn may prove to be barrier in his refor-
In this model, self-image, value conformity, mation.
actual conformity and social prestige are
(ii) Value Conformity: Desire to con-
inter-related with one another and are form to the prison norms and reject the
linked to reformation in a descending order norms of the inmate world depends upon

304
RAM AHUJA
the internalisation of non-delinquent values caste and community members of the pri-
and conformity to the expectations of signi-
soner, the possibility of his reformation
ficant others. It also reflects one's religious becomes more dim.
and moral beliefs. If a person has an ego-
The above self-image model points out
centric faith in his religious values, if he that inmates who make good institutional
regards his deviant actions as sins, he will adjustment and conform to the prison norms
take no time in repenting for his wrong create within the prison society a dissen-
deeds. The simple and logical inference is tient minority. This minority resists, at least
that the feeling of being wronged and the to some extent, the dominant influence of
desire of taking revenge have to be destroy-
inmate groups who reject prison norms.
ed, erased to make way for reformation.
Therefore, an effective programme segregat-
(iii) Actual Conformity: Actual confor-
ing the minority group from the majority
mity to norms may be inwardly-directed or group, and also breaking the majority
outwardly-directed. The latter is one which groups, (who conform to inmate norms) by
is directed to groups and social institutions segregating them in such a way so as to
in society; while the former is one which is minimise the social contacts between them
directed to the individual himself. The in-
will minimise the influence of the inmate
wardly-directed conformity may be because culture on inmates and check the kinds of
the inmate is either a moralist or a tradi-
anti-social influence an inmate encounters
tionalist while outwardly-directed confor-
in prison life. This idea clearly challenges
mity may be because he is a pragmatist and the present structuring of prisons and indi-
is tied with reality.
cates the necessity and desirability of esta-
(iv) Prestige; The labelling, the condem-
blishing prisons where a heterogeneous cri-
nation, the derogatory stigma, the praise, minal population may be protected from the
the cooperation, and the sympathetic and hazards of inmate culture.
tolerant attitudes are also crucial factors in
changing prisoners' values and in accepting
IV
or rejecting the former and informal values
prevalent in the prison. The environment A New Perspective
in which a jailor or a warden abuses or
assaults an inmate, other inmates jeer at
The question is: how to restructure pri-
him or stand watching passively, or in which sons so that they may resocialise the offen-
jail officials are crucial disciplinarians, ders? Should we shift toward more liberal
would not succeed in changing the values regimes or toward more custodial control?
and behaviour of a prisoner. If an inmate The author's contention is that there should
comes to the conclusion that his existence be reconciliation between the goals of custo-
is neglected and treatment by the staff is dy and reform. The following measures may
devoid of reality and meaning, he may as-
contribute more to the adjustment of offen-
sert his existence by negative acts, such as ders in prisons and prisons functioning as
openly criticising jail officials, demanding correctional institutions rather than as 'fac-
more facilities and instigating other inma-
tories of crime':
tes to revolt. "Counter role" here, which he
assumes as a cover to protect himself from
(1) Short-term offenders, i.e. offenders
the penalties associated with his actual role,
getting less than 6 months imprison-
is an act of self-definition. Add to this the
ment, should not be kept in prisons.
indifferent attitude of family, kinship group,
In India, at present more than three-

INMATES' ADJUSTMENT TO PRISON SUBCULTURE
305
fourth prisoners are those who are
(3) Channels should be provided to pri-
awarded less than 6 months impri-
soners, independent of the prison
sonment. Short-term imprisonment
administration, for expressing com-
only stigmatises the persons. Such
plaints and grievances. Ready access
offenders can easily be released on
to courts and to lawyers for redress
probation. At present, only 8 to 10
is also necessary.
per cent of the offenders eligible to
(4) More facilities should be provided
be released on probation are getting
to inmates for continued contacts
the benefit of probation services in
with the outside world and for re-
our country, whereas in United
lease on parole.
States these services are used to the
extent of 60 to 65 per cent and in
(5) Some discretion should be permitted
U.K. to the extent of 55 to 60 per
to jail officials in dealing with pri-
cent. Why can't in India probation
soners. This will reduce discontent
system be extensively used by the
among prisoners and make their ad-
courts to deal with the offenders?
justment to prison life easier.
This will also reduce over-crowding
in prisons. At present, U.S. has the
A feeling on the part of prisoners that
highest proportion of its citizens in they are being treated fairly, that they have
the custody: 189 out of every one a say in work assignment or transfer from
lakh (Radzinowicz, 1977: 292). one to other barrack, and that their dignity
Against this, U.K. has 82 and Bel-
is not needlessly undermined is more likely
gium, France and Denmark have 50 to induce them to conform to prison norms,
to 60 persons and India has only 40 reduce their bitterness to society and ulti-
persons in jails out of every one lakh mately promote their rehabilitation.
population in the country.
Should a prisoner lose all his rights as
(2) The most important problem is that a consequence of sentence of confinement?
of classification of prisoners. The Is it not possible to maintain a balance
main objectives of classifying pri-
between these rights and needs of prison
soners till recently were: to segre-
discipline? Some rights might be incompa-
gate different types of offenders, to tible with the rules of a correctional insti-
categorise prisoners for security tution but some rules may be unreasonable
purposes, to prevent moral contami-
or unnecessarily restrictive. Why should
nation, to control inmate-inmate re-
they not be changed? We, therefore, con-
lations, and to maintain discipline. clude that reorganisation of prisons and
Thus classification was done prima-
bringing them in tune with the modern
rily for administrative purposes. But philosophy of dealing with the criminals is
today, classification of prisoners is the greatest need of the day. What is need-
needed not only for custodial pur-
ed in restructuring of prisons today is not
poses but also for assigning work 'skin-deep cosmetics' but a 'soul-deep
and sanctioning facilities.
surgery'.

306
RAM AHUJA
REFERENCES
Ahuja Ram : The Prison System Effectiveness and Effects of Prison Cus-
1981
tody, Agra: Sahitya Bhawan.
Clemmer Donald :
The Prison Community, Boston: Christopher Publishing House.
1940
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The Indian Journal of Social Work, Vol. XL1V, No. 3, (October 1983)