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Prison cultures and social representations: the case of Hinseberg, a women's prison in Sweden
Örebro University, Department of Behavioural, Social and Legal Sciences. (Forskargruppen; Institutioner Interventioner och Behandlingsmiljöer (FIB))
2005 (English)In: International Journal of Prisoner Health, ISSN 1744-9200, E-ISSN 1744-9219, Vol. 1, no 2-4, 143-161 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Women represent approximately 6% of the prison population of Sweden (total = 5000). This article presents a study of female inmates in the closed prison for women, Hinseberg, in Sweden. The study examines the inmates and staff culture on the basis of concepts such as interaction rituals, status, role conflicts and social representations. The methodology included questionnaires to all inmates, qualitative interviews with inmates and staff and observation within the prison. Among the findings, it was clear that some inmates have a higher status than others, which is linked to the type of crime committed, years of imprisonment, previous imprisonment, relations to male gang members, and charisma. So-called ‘Queens’ rule the wings and maintain the inmates’ codes. Examples of these codes are: do not associate with the staff, do not talk too long with staff, do not be an informer, do not seek treatment programmes, and do not trust anybody. Those who challenge the codes are seen as an informer or traitor, and the culture in the prison was found to be oppressive towards women who want to seek treatment and support from staff. The study also shows that there are similarities in the staff and the inmates’ cultures. Experienced prison officers often have a significant impact on the staff culture, and among staff there are informal codes, i.e. that you should not be ‘too close’ to the inmates and do not trust the inmates. This leads to an objectifying and distancing approach in relation to the inmates. In both cultures stereotypical social representations of ‘the other’ is created, which have a negative impact on the possibilities for working with rehabilitation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Taylor & Francis , 2005. Vol. 1, no 2-4, 143-161 p.
Keyword [en]
Women, prison, prison culture, ritual
National Category
Social Sciences Law and Society Social Work
Research subject
Social Work; Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-5542DOI: 10.1080/17449200600553076OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-5542DiVA: diva2:160274
Available from: 2009-02-12 Created: 2009-02-12 Last updated: 2012-02-14Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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