Prison System Essay example

Prison System Essay example

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In the prison system most of the prisoners are labeled as either “mad” or bad”. The implication here is that “mad” implies that the prisoner is mentally ill and “bad” implies that they are purposely acting out. The main difference is if the person has the ability to choose to act a specific way they are “bad” or if they cannot control their actions then they are “mad”. In this paper I will describe how the prison workers distinguish between the prisoners as “mad” or “bad” as well as discuss how the ideas and social practices inform the prison guards’ judgment. Then I will discuss how being labeled as “mad” affects the prisoners and why some of them strive to be labeled as “mad”.
The prison workers are the ones who decided if a prisoner is “mad” or “bad”. This starts when they first come into the prison. They are brought in asked a few specific questions to decide if they will need mental help. If these workers decided that the prisoner is not mentally ill they get pushed along. “Given the limited capacity of the prison to provide help, the workers "…have no choice but to look… for the ‘seriously crazy… If they can talk, even if they are squirrely, they are moved on” (Rhodes, 2004, 102).
The ideas and social practices of the prison guards effect how they decide if the prisoners are “mad” or “bad”. Then the prison guards will ask themselves if the odd behavior of the prisoner is a sign of underlining disturbances or if they are willingly acting that way to resists their environment (Rhodes, 2004). A lot of the behavior in the control unit could be considered odd but the underlining issues and intentions are what they prison guard has to try to understand. The prison workers try to distinguish the “mad” and the “bad”...


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...ntal health jacket when they see that its terms create the possibility for this change in how they are treated and, for some, in how they feel” (Rhodes, 2004, 121).
The way the prison system is set up it does not allow the prisons to have any self-respect. They have no reason to want to get better and they continue to have a cycle of the prisoners treating the guards poorly and the guards treating the prisoners badly. Fortunately one prison is changing this terrible cycle so that the prisoners do not have to bee labeled as “mad” or “bad”.



Works Cited

Luhrmann, T. (2007). Social Defeat and The Culture of Chronicity: or, Why Schizophrenia Does So Well Over There and So Badly Here. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 135-172.
Rhodes, L. (2004). Total Confinement: Madness and Reason in the Maximum Security Prison. Berkeley: University of California Press.

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