He's Not My Brother... He's My Friend: A Qualitative Examination of Inmate Friendship

Eric F. Bronson, The Bowling Green State University

This study investigates the friendship networks of inmates. In-depth, open-ended questions examined the formation and maintenance of inmate social networks. Both external and internal friendships were discussed. Factors that contribute to the formation of inmate friendships relate to the inmates' hometown, type of crime convicted of, institutional programs, age, and inmate activities. Maintenance of friendships relates to the inmates' hometown, inmate activities, age, and social status within the institution. Several maxims were discussed and might suggest the existence of an inmate code and prison culture. The effects of race were downplayed by inmates as a central feature in the prison culture. The inmates offered that a new culture revolves around popular culture.

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Updated 05/20/2006