Prisoners: Experiencing the Criminal Other
Drawing on an analysis of a large corpus of published and unpublished sources, this chapter focuses on four exemplary encounters between ‘intellectual’/’political’ convicts and ‘common’ prisoners in Russian and Italy between the early nineteenth century and the present. It explores how emotions shape and are shaped by face-to-face encounters, and explores the ways feelings are communicated across social and cultural divides, both real and perceived. Further, it discusses some instances in which prison encounters deeply transformed the emotional repertoires of those who experienced them.
The book “From the “land of incarcerations” towards the society with a minimal use of pain: Finnish experience of reducing the prison population” includes articles and essays written by Tapio Lappi-Seppälä, Inkeri Anttila and Patrik Törnudd and translated into Russian. Authors reflect on factors, realization, consequences and significance of penal reforms in Finland. The book contains also the pictures made in a number of Finnish prisons.
At the moment Finland is on one of the last places in Europe in terms of prison population rate (55 prisoners per 100 000 inhabitants by 1.1.2016) though at the beginning of 1950s the number of prisoners was about three times higher and Finland was famous as a “land of imprisonment”. This change was the result of the consistent penal reforms since 1960s: decriminalization of a number of actions, day-fine reform, reducing minimum time for parole, expanding the use of fines and conditional sentence instead of prison, reducing the length of pre-trial detention, introduction and expansion of community service etc.
Objective: to identify the diversity of cohesion forms in confi nement institutions. Methods: qualitative analyses based on in-depth semi-structured interviews. Results: the study included adaptation of Western methodologies of the cohesion phenomenon analysis to the Russian reality, and operationalization of the moral bases of group cohesion. This served as the bases for designing a guide for in-depth semi-structured interviews; 10 interviews were conducted with people recently released from general and strict regime colonies. Content analysis of the interviews revealed a number of structural sections that demonstrate the diversity of cohesion forms, alongside with one that is most meaningful to the prisoners and therefore the most well perceived and articulated by respondents. Analysis of the latter allowed to identify a set of groups showing different degree and nature of cohesion. By the degree of cohesion one can identify the poorly cohesive groups ("louts"), moderately cohesive ("reds", "thieves") and highly cohesive ("fi ghters"). By the nature of cohesion in the prisoners’ community, there are both groups united on the basis of social morality ("reds", "thieves") and groups demonstrating a high degree of cohesion based on the social justice morality ("fi ghters"). A detailed analysis of the latter group also showed that the cohesion can have both traits of morality, social justice, and features of social order moral. Scientifi c novelty: using the socio-psychological theory of the moral motives in determining the bases of cohesion. Practical signifi cance: the research results can be applied for the development of socio-psychological techniques for the penal system reform
This article explores explanations for differences in penal severity in industrialized countries, evaluating quantitative data and theoretical perspectives to examine several aspects of penal systems. These include rates of imprisonment in different countries, crime rates in relation to prisoner rates, welfare and social equality, trust and legitimacy, and democracy and political economy. The focus is not restricted to the Anglophonic world, but encompasses the Scandinavian countries, Western and Eastern continental Europe, and the Baltic states. Unprecedented expansions of penal control have occurred in recent decades in different parts of the world. American imprisonment rates have increased nearly fivefold and Dutch rates sixfold since the early 1970s. Substantial changes of differing magnitudes may be observed in many countries. An increase in states’ willingness to use penal power has provoked criminological and sociological explanations, most from writers in North America and English-speaking countries. An unspoken assumption that developments in the United States and England and Wales occurred elsewhere has influenced efforts to formulate general explanations of changes taking place under general conditions of late modern society.
However, the author notes that things have not happened the same way everywhere, and to overlook differences between nations may lead to overgeneralised and simplified pictures of the dynamics of penal change. For example, alongside general growth in cultures of control, there are divergent trends and country-specific deviations. The Scandinavian countries with their more restrained penal policies serve as one important counterexample: despite some recent criticisms, Nordic penal policy has been an example of a pragmatic and non-moralistic approach, with a clear social policy orientation. It reflects the values of the Nordic welfare-state ideal and emphasizes that measures against social marginalization and inequality work also as measures against crime. In conclusion, the author argues that the pre-conditions of rational policy-making must be prioritised over populist posturing through the production of more and better information for politicians, practitioners and the public. The normal rules of political accountability should also be applied in penal discourse.