Prison Environment Jennifer O’Neal CJS 230 Jean O’Gallagher July 21, 2011 Prison is a cramped, confined, and sometimes dangerous environment. There are prison rules (prison code) and for the majority of the prisons there are inmate rules (inmate code). When prison rules are broken, inmates are charged accordingly with reprimands. When inmate code is broken inmates are subject to attack by other inmates, which will lead to injury or possibly death. In prison, there is no privacy.

Inmates are in cells which have a sink and toilet within feet of their sleeping area. It is difficult if not impossible for an inmate to be completely alone during incarceration; there are only three places an inmate can be at any time, his or her cell, the common housing area, or on the yard (Foster, 2006). Inmates within the prison are usually joined together by race groups; there are times that the prison population is joined together by gang affiliation.

Special Operations Response Teams (SORT) and Special Response Teams (SRT’s) were created in order to manage inmates who get into fights, assault staff members, or refuse to follow orders. Prison staff does everything they can in order to isolate gang leaders, label the gang members within general population for security and intelligence purposes, and deprogramming of the gang members. Upon entry into prison, inmates are classified by a special facility, which are usually called Reception Centers, or diagnostic centers.

The main reason for this process is to determine the level of security the inmate be placed in. Classification is also used in order to find out education needs, mental state, physical state, and program needs. Prison environments affect secure custody because, as discussed earlier, gang members within the system can and do become threats to other inmates and staff members. Being able to correctly identify gang members and have these members separated from the general populations is not easy all the time.

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Secure custody can be improved by continuing gang intelligence among the staff. This is necessary because being able to keep gang members separate from general population will play a huge role in the prison safety. Changes to prison environments that would improve institutional management would be working harder to identify inmates in which are a treat to the other inmates and staff. I say this because when there are less threats of inmate to inmate crimes and inmate to staff crimes, there will tend to be less havoc within the prison which will help to keep tension levels down.


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