Section 3: Prisons as Producing Violence

Published date01 May 2022
Date01 May 2022
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice
2022, Vol. 38(2) 213 –214
© The Author(s) 2022
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/10439862221096897
Section 3: Prisons as
Producing Violence
Reflections on Prison’s Soft Violence, by Dr. Jason Kahler
Violence Isn’t Only Physical: Mental Violence While Incarcerated, by Dr. Lukas
Violent Institutions: The Hidden Brutality Within American Prisons, by Christian
L. Bolden
It’s Been Going On for a Long Time, by Richa
Odoc Fines – The Scars of Our Poverty, by Toby Michael
Incarcerated Reflections, by Andrew Kicking Horse
“Against the Odds” For a Worthy Cause. . ., by Antwann Johnson
Thoughts of an Inmate, by Alex Calderon
There is a wealth of literature that chronicles the “pains of imprisonment” (Sykes,
1958) and the devastating impact that imprisonment has on an individual. The overrid-
ing theme of this chapter describes the process by which the culture of prisons produce
and perpetuate conditions for violence. Present across all of these essays in one form
or the other is the notion that the culture created and upheld within prisons not only
provokes but often necessitates violence through adaptation to an inmate code of sur-
vival first explored by Clemmer (1940). This is best exemplified by one of the authors
in this section: “violence breeds violence within these captive walls and inside these
walls lies a different world than what society assembles its citizens to abide by”
(Kicking Horse, this issue).
In the first essay, Dr. Jason Kahler distinguishes between “hard” and “soft” vio-
lence while reflecting on his time at a low-security prison. While hard violence refers
to physical forms of prison violence, covert forms of “soft” violence are much more
pervasive and sinister, disguised within seemingly innocuous daily activities such as
being called to the lieutenant’s office, or exerted through control over the mail room,
and persistent even after release through barriers to housing and employment. Dr.
Lukas Carey observes that while not everyone experiences physical violence while
incarcerated, mental violence is ubiquitous. Christian Bolden also reflects on soft
1096897CCJXXX10.1177/10439862221096897Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice

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