Theoretical Studies of the Prison Subculture: Contemporary Explanations for Female Inmates

Courtney A. Waid, Florida State University

The first models of the prison subculture, such as those purported by Clemmer and Sykes, were rooted in the structural-functionalist paradigm of criminological thought. However, alternative explanations, such as the importation model developed by Irwin theorize that the subculture of prison may not be centered around common norms and values. Recent, yet vague attempts have been made to integrate these perspectives. Does integration have theoretical explanatory power when examining the contemporary prison subculture? Furthermore, can an integrated approach inform penologists as to how females serve time? The present paper seeks to answer these questions, form a sketch for further theoretical sophistication, and propose ideas for future research.

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Updated 05/20/2006