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Surviving in Prison

NCJ Number
H S Long
Date Published
124 pages
The author, who has been imprisoned for 10 years, describes various aspects of prison life and provides guidelines and insights designed to help inmates understand the structure and dynamics of prison life and how to make the most of it.
The book focuses on prison organizational structure and operating procedures and how they affect the prisoner's daily life. A chapter on "power structures" addresses security procedures and the structure and operations of various prison committees, such as administrative committees, the classification committee, and the adjustment committee, which functions as a court within the institution in hearing cases of alleged infractions charged to inmates. Another chapter describes elements of the prison experience in the first 90 days. It discusses separation from family and friends as well as adjustments to a new lifestyle in prison, including adaptation to control, psychological threats, and physical threats. A separate chapter discusses the conditions and adjustments of isolation and segregation units, followed by a chapter on inmate programs and recreation. The latter chapter covers academic programs, vocational training and industries, activity groups, religious groups, and recreational activities. The internal litigation process pertinent to inmate grievances and misconduct is described in detail and appraised. A chapter on the interpersonal aspects of prison life focuses on the maintenance and frustrations of relationships with women on the outside while imprisoned. The concluding chapter provides guidelines for how to make the best of prison life and how to view prison staff and prison programs.