Racial Integration in a Total Institution

Chad R. Trulson, Sam Houston State University
James W. Marquart, Sam Houston State University

The purpose of this paper is to examine racial integration in a total institution--the prison. Over 40 years ago Erving Goffman introduced his thesis on total institutions, though there was scant mention of race in his discussion. This fact remains today as comparatively little is known about the impact of racially integrating offenders in prison--how they adapt in the prison setting to forced integration in cells. This paper examines 10 years of institutional data on inmate-on-inmate assaults in a large Southern prison system. Results of the analysis indicate that forced racial integration did not produce disproportionate rates of incidents compared to non-integrated inmates over 10 years.

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Updated 05/20/2006