Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: November 23, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959193 | Print ISBN: 9781412959186 | Online ISBN: 9781412959193| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Irwin, John, and Donald R. Cressey: Importation Theory
Melissa M. Moon & Sherry Tillinghast
Early scholarly studies of prisons noted that there was not just a formal organization inside prisons, but an informal organization that included a distinct inmate subculture. Theorists first proposed the deprivation model, which contended that inmate behavior stemmed from the conditions of confinement. In response to this theory, John Irwin and Donald R. Cressey set forth an alternative explanation—the importation model. This model suggests that inmate behavior is a reflection of attitudes and behaviors already possessed by offenders when they enter prison. In this entry, the deprivation model is first presented as a prelude to a more extensive discussion of the importation model. In addition, research supporting the importation model is presented. In The Society of Captives , Gresham Sykes detailed the nature of the prison subculture, arguing that the content of the subculture was an adaptation to the painful conditions inherent in prison life. Sykes discussed five distinct pains ...