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Living in a Prison: The Ecology of Survival

NCJ Number
H Toch
Date Published
Adopting a transactional approach, this book focuses on the individual in the context of the prison environment and considers the person as a consumer of the environment and addresses ways to maximize the consumer's well-being in the environment.
Interviews conducted with random samples of prison inmates in five large New York maximum-security institutions for male offenders provide the database for this book which identifies seven characteristics of the prison environment: privacy, activity, safety, emotional feedback, support, structure, and freedom. Inmates perceive these characteristics of the environment differently. For example, some inmates are concerned particularly about privacy; others perceive structure as more important. Attention is directed to ways these various individual requirements can be satisfied to reduce personal stress. The book, which deals specifically with stress, describes groups of vulnerable inmates, both formal and informal ameliorative settings, and self-initiated and environment-initiated transactions designed to reduce suffering and to prevent breakdowns. 365 footnotes, 3 figures, 50 tables, 106 references, and 2 appendices