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eBook Living in Prison: The Ecology of Survival download

by Hans Toch

eBook Living in Prison: The Ecology of Survival download ISBN: 1557981760
Author: Hans Toch
Publisher: Amer Psychological Assn; Revised, Subsequent edition (December 1, 1992)
Language: English
Pages: 350
ePub: 1818 kb
Fb2: 1747 kb
Rating: 4.6
Other formats: lrf lit azw doc
Category: Political
Subcategory: Social Sciences

Living in Prison book. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Start by marking Living in Prison: The Ecology of Survival as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read.

Living in Prison book.

Authors and affiliations. Living In Prison: The Ecology Of Survival (1992). Authors and Affiliations. 1. outhwest Texas State UniversityUSA.

Living in Prison offers a comprehensive inmates' view of prison life, set against a backdrop of "objective" information to understand how individual prisoners relate to and cope with their environment. It captures the flavor of inmate life and presents fully documented evidence that stress can be ameliorated through direct and practical intervention. Revised and updated from a previous publication by the Free Press.

Though prison is necessarily an unpleasant place, Toch (Psychology, School of Criminal Justice, SUNY, Albany) believes that conditions of incarceration may be less or more noxious and stressful depending on the degree of privacy, structure, safety, activity, freedom, and ""emotional feedback".

Living in Prison : The Ecology of Survival. By (author) Dr Hans Toch, By (author) Daniel Lockwood, By (author) John J Gibbs. AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

The ecology of survival; by Hans Toch. Published 1979 by Free Pr. Written in English. Internet Archive Wishlist, Prison psychology, Prisoners, Case studies, Prisons.

Living in Prison offers an inmates' view of prison life, set against a backdrop of objective information, to understand how individual prisoners relate to and cope with their environment. ISBN13:9781557981769. Release Date:September 1992.

Distinguished Professor Emeritus School of Criminal Justice. Books: Toch, H. Organizational Change through Individual Empowerment. Living in Prison: The Ecology of Survival. State University of New York 135 Western Avenue. Applying Social Psychology in Prisons and Policing Washington, DC: American Psychological Association (APA Books), 2014. Toch, H. Cop Watch: Spectators, Social Media, and Police Reform. Police, Prisons and the Problem of Violence, Washington, . Government Printing Office, 1977; also published as Peacekeeping: Police, Prisons and Violence.

oceedings{Hedberg1979LivingIP, title {Living in Prison: The Ecology of Survival}, author {David L. Hedberg}, year {1979} }. David L. Hedberg.

Living in Prison: The Ecology of Survival. Examines the maximum security prison as a living environment and illustrates the personal impact prisons have on individual prisoners. January 1979 · Contemporary Sociology. Practical solutions to the problem of making prisons more effective and humane are proposed. PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved). The Costs of Surviving Men's Prison Sentences. May 1991 · Women & Criminal Justice. Anne Davis BA, MSc, CQSW. When men enter prison the lives of their partners change

Living in Prison offers a comprehensive inmates' view of prison life, set against a backdrop of "objective" information to understand how individual prisoners relate to and cope with their environment. It captures the flavor of inmate life and presents fully documented evidence that stress can be ameliorated through direct and practical intervention. Revised and updated from a previous publication by the Free Press.
Comments: (4)
When I took a job as a psychiatric social worker in a prison, LIVING IN PRISON was one of the three or four books which helped me make sense of the lives of incarcerated men. A quarter century later, it holds up well. I recommend it strongly.

This book is distilled from interviews, conducted in the late 1970's, with about 700 prisoners and about 200 custody staff. The political climate has changed. Prisons now house many more prisoners, who serve much longer sentences. The official ideology of prisons has long since shifted from rehabilitation to punishment.

Still, prison life has changed little. Prisons were then large, complex, dysfunctional institutions whose dominant hyper-masculine culture was one of dog eat dog, might makes right. This culture has not changed. The picture of prison life thirty-five years ago in Living In Prison was valid then. It is valid now.

Reading LIVING IN PRISON helped me by offering an alternative to the negativity of then current literature on therapy and counseling of men in prison.

This approach to counseling and psychotherapy violated a traditional core social work principle, to "start where the client is." Before any intervention is offered, a social worker must listen carefully to the client's story. What does the client believe is his problem? What about the problem stymies him? What does he hope to get out of this meeting? "Starting where the client is" is almost certainly not where client and social worker end, but unless the social worker has a clear understanding of what brought the client to his door, the intervention will fail.

"Starting where the client is," sounds warm and fuzzy, but it is pure common sense. Readers can judge for themselves. We all turn to experts for help. Social workers help with personal issues. Auto mechanics help with cars. Accountants help with taxes.

Which social worker, mechanic or accountant would readers choose, one who berates the client for being irresponsible and hurtful, or one who listens closely, making every effort to understand the client's perspective before formulating a diagnosis and moving to a solution? Most of us want the second expert, who starts where we are, not the first expert, who starts where the prosecutor is.

Back then, the literature on treatment of incarcerated men insisted that therapists start where the prosecutor is. This literature demanded aggressive confrontation, to shame the client into accepting responsibility for his crimes and to correct his criminal thinking.

I did not want to prosecute. As a traditional social worker, I wanted to start where my clients were. To do so, I needed to know a lot more about their problems before I could even think of being helpful.

This was no small problem. For me, prison was an alien environment. I had no real idea what my clients lives were like. I was learning by listening to them and to a few officers, but they formed a small sample. I needed a larger sample. I got that sample vicariously from LIVING IN PRISON. It previewed every problem clients would bring me.

The book is organized around the choices men must make when they enter prison:

(Chapter Two ) Prison is crowded and boring. Men can relieve boredom through activity -- work, education, exercise -- but going out to the yard, school or job exposes men to risk of violence.

Men can escape crowding by holing up in their cells. Where they cannot avoid crowds, as in the chow hall, they must deal with jostling elbows, at the expense of just eating their food.

(Chapter Three ) Prison is dangerous. Threats may be explicit or implicit. Anticipating violence may provoke violence, but failure to anticipate violence sets the prisoner up for victimization. "Vigilance is the price of Safety." ( p. 202 )

( Chapter Four ) Prison is a closed institution. Men are cut off from family and community. They are lonely.

( Chapter Six ) Despite their organizational charts and regulations, prisons are clusters of fiefdoms. Some staff apply rules consistently; others do not.

( Chapter Five ) In prison, time is frozen. Unless men find purpose, they rot mentally and emotionally. All too often, prisoners find purpose in the cultivation of criminal skills.

( Chapter Seven ) Prisons promote dependence and subservience.

(Chapter Eight ) Young prisoners have different needs than older prisoners. The needs of short term prisoners differ from those of men serving life sentences.

(Chapter Nine) Any new prisoner has to deal with bullies and sexual predators. Where addicts crave heroin, these thugs crave the excitement of inducing distress in the weak and vulnerable. Chapter Nine explores in considerable detail how prisoners experience these pressures and how they respond. There is no escaping these pressures. Some men succumb. Others talk their way out of threats (p. 213). Still others attack their tormentors preemptively (pp.211-212 ).

I believe Professor Toch underestimates the prevalence of prison rape, but he makes two significant points. First, the motive for rape is to humiliate the victim. Second, if the potential victim responds with fear, his only alternatives are fight or flight, a response which, "excludes other options, such as communication and problem-solving." ( p. 209 )

Chapter Ten deals with finding a niche. Prison is filled not only with thugs, but with gossips and hustlers who love nothing more than creating turmoil. Without a niche, the prisoner finds "everybody's in his business." He is sucked into "everybody else's business." His identity becomes diffused. Men must find a niche in which they work or attend school, have some freedom, feel safe and pursue personal goals. The best niches are stable and consistent settings, supervised by Staff who treat prisoners as fellow human beings. (pp. 249 ff. )

Articulating the dimensions of the prison environment which are problematic for its residents is an outstanding achievement. What makes this book marvelous,
both comprehensive and profound, is Professor Toch' s insistence that each individual prisoner has a range of possible responses to prison. ( pp. 1-13 )

For Professor Toch, prisoners must come to terms with their fears, balancing their desire for safety with their need for self actualization. This tension comes alive in the interview transcripts. It is in the presentation of their experience of prison, and how they managed prison, that LIVING IN PRISON prepared me to interview prisoners.

Some men say that it is all they can do to keep from becoming violent in prison; they are perpetually on the verge of losing control, and if they do, it will be the prison's fault. (pp. 57-8)

Other men feel deserted because their children have stopped writing to them; their wives do not visit them enough. (pp. 71-73)

Many men cannot tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty. (pp. 110-114)

One subset wards off boredom by keeping obsessively busy (pp.29-35). There are men for whom maintenance of the integrity of their personal boundaries is a perpetual struggle (pp.35-49).

There are men who respond to prison with self destructive, even suicidal behavior. ( pp. 73-75 )

Still others continue the compulsive defiance of authority that brought them into prison. ( pp. 152-156 )

The complaints I heard a decade and two later, on the opposite coast of the country, were the same as those noted by Professor Toch. LIVING IN PRISON taught me most of what I needed to know to "start where the client is." It provided a sound foundation for listening to my clients.

I was glad to have it as a resource. My only regret, reading it after a lapse of twenty-five years, is that I did not return to it more often.
I'm a lawyer, and I love this book because it provides a unique look at what it's actually like to be incarcerated. There are TV shows dedicated to gang issues in maximum security prisons and those dedicated to temporary stints in jails, but most of my clients see them for what they are -- dramatic descriptions of particular offenders, or a peek at how hard it is to be an officer in a jail. None of those shows capture the emotional effects of living day to day in a heavily restrictive environment, particularly with people who are from a different social class.

Here, the inmates' fears and frustrations are told by the prisoners themselves through bits of interviews -- this isn't a TV editor's summary of life in an institution. For many young people who, through drug use or other "introductory" crimes, are at risk of lont-term incarceration, chapters and sections of this book tell them the truth in a way they are very unlikely to accept from anyone else.

Too many of my clients believe the worst part of being locked up will be removal from the outside world. What will actually get to them is more likely to be the things reported here: the nature of living in a place where you must be constantly alert to danger from other inmates; dealing with some officers who are good at what they do and some are bent on making you as unhappy as possible in the name of making you "pay the price;" being locked up with people whose lives and backgrounds are so different than yours that you essentially cannot grasp the social rules that would keep you safe among them; and institutional rules that you violate -- and are punished for -- without knowing you were doing it, because they change from day to day and from guard to guard.

I live in the Midwest and deal often with young offenders from middle-class families, and they don't believe that a lower security prison here is going to be like the stories they've all heard about other locations or institutions with more violent offenders. They are wrong. I'll give an example. We've all heard of prison rape but it's generally been thought to be a problem only in hard-core facilities. This book explains how the statistical likelihood of getting raped may not be high, but it doesn't take getting raped to make you live in fear -- it's the threat of it, and that is as common here as anywhere. Because of stricter federal and state regulation of sexual harassment and violence, inmates who ask for official protection generally now receive it, but at a price they often hate: for their own security they are moved to lockdown blocks, where they cannot participate in prison activities (movie night, certain classes, work assignments, and other methods of keeping horrific boredom and isolation at bay) and where they are locked in their cells 22 hours a day. Lest females think it only happens to males, that's not at all true. A female who receives unwanted attention and reports it -- it need not even be threats of sexual contact, just frequent unwanted advances -- receives the same lockdown treatment as the males do. As might be guessed, this situation means that sex-related problems in prison don't often get reported, since the victims are, in a sense, punished for reporting abuse. Fewer reports means abusers aren't caught, so there are more victims, and the abuser's strength grows from getting away with it so easily.

If I were the parent or other loved one of someone who is at risk of getting arrested but isn't grasping what this would actually mean, I'd photocopy pages of the early chapters and try to get the person to read them.

In some chapters the inmates speak of ways they've found to deal with incarceration and even to improve themselves, and they speak of why they decided to do that. Again the fact that it's in the inmates' own words is very important -- it's not a parent or therapist or other authority figure giving someone a list of programs that he/she should participate in, it's the first-person perspective of people who have lived this life and how to get through it. I like to see the families of my clients give photocopies of those pages to the prisoner so they can open up a discussion of these issues without the prisoner hearing it as one more "you should be doing this because I say so," but instead "here is what other inmates have said."

Another great use of the book is to facilitate ongoing communication between the prisoner and his/her family. What do you put in a letter to a prisoner? What do you ask about? How many times can you ask "is the food any good?" The sociologists who did the study that is reported in the book asked the prisoners dozens of questions, and reproductions of some of them are included in the book. They make terrific gateways to keeping open communication so that the prisoner doesn't believe that not only are his difficulties ignored within his current environment, but also no one on the outside even knows much about his life and so whatever he says about it will only be met with "uh huh" or "try harder."

Because this is a book written for professionals, some segments won't be important to the family of an offender or potential offender. Those can easily be ignored. What's in here, however, is better than anything I've seen anywhere else, and it's worth the price and trouble to get it.
When I was inspired to write a person incarcerated, I decided I should do some background reading. This book was excellent in helping me understand the pressures, and real dangers, and the administrative attitude that a person incarcerated in an American prison faces. It was an excellent resource.