Patrick F. McManimon Jr.
The concept of deprivation, associated with the work of Donald Clemmer (1940) and Gresham Sykes (1958), explains prison culture and inmate conduct as primarily the result of the deprivations prisoners experience while incarcerated. In this view, prisoner culture is a fairly normal response to an abnormal environment. Their work was later challenged by others, beginning with John Irwin (1980), who contended that, instead, prison life was shaped by ideas, attitudes, and experiences inmates brought with them, or “imported,” from their street culture. Today, most prison sociologists recognize that the two factors of deprivation and importation work together to shape people's prison experiences. Proponents of the deprivation model argue that upon entering prison, individuals inevitably assimilate into a subculture, undergoing a process known as prisonization . Through these adaptation mechanisms, prison culture is formed in opposition to the prison administration and officers, whom inmates view as responsible for the prison rules ...