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Prison Sentence as Perceived by Prisoners (From International Center for Comparative Criminology, V 2 - The Criminal Personality, P 51-64, 1977, Alice Parizeau, ed. - See NCJ-70503)

NCJ Number
J Sikora
Date Published
14 pages
The results of interviews with a group of 50 inmates employed at the printshop of Warsaw Central Prison are analyzed to determine inmates' attitude toward imprisonment.
Themes covered in the interviews include changes in the stereotypes of prison isolation and adaptation to prison life, the value of small and large cells for resocialization, the importance of disciplinary action for regulating prison behavior, and the effectiveness of rewards for positive behavior. Also discussed are prison food, occupational training, work in the printshop, and the cultural and educational activities of the prison. According to the study findings, all inmates feel that offenses should be punished, and some even admit to having committed offenses. Most feel that the courts do not grasp the psychological problems which motivate their criminal activities and that the courts impose unfair sentences because the judges do not understand them. In most cases inmates are critical of their own personalities, but feel that the justice system needs a better grasp of the complex problems affecting offenders' personalities. Because of their negative self-images, they view prison resocialization work in a dim light. They believe that prison education cannot change their negative psychological traits into positive traits. The most popular resocialization measures are vocational apprenticeship and work related to learning a profession, but cultural and educative activities are also regarded positively as a means of reducing prison isolation. --in French.


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