Prison: As A Clock On My Wall

1624 words - 7 pages

When confronted by my world I often find myself pushing back. I find it difficult to accept much of what I am confronted with, instead I choose to break the given observation or information down in to as many pieces as I can possibly manage and attempt to place them back together. In doing this, I can understand the whole by examining its parts. For example, if I was interested in understanding how the clock hanging on my wall worked, I might take it down. I know what the face of it looks like and can see that the hands move, but I want to know how these events occur. So, I deconstruct the clock and look at each of its pieces through this process and the process of placing them back together again. Essentially, by the end of it I have looked at every piece individually from all sorts of angles. This is an excellent way to understand how clocks work, but it is also an excellent way to understand how prison operates as well.
If one was interested in the way a prison in your state functioned, they may look to the structural functionalism sociological perspective to view and understand prison life. Structural functionalism serves to see society as a complex system of individual parts working together to promote stability and order. An example of this is the way our organs work together to maintain our body through homeostasis but once one organ begins to fail, homeostasis is lost and the body is out of order. When observing prison through the functionalism perspective you have to look at what is normal, traditional, customary, and what is used to promote stability and order. In this sense, it is beneficial to look at prison in the same context you would look at a country you are unfamiliar with. Even though the prison is in the same state as you, it is not the same. In the outside world it is acceptable to show emotion through smiling when you are happy, frowning when you are upset, or any other way that emotion can be shown. In prison, emotion is a sign of weakness and inmates prey on the weak. In prison, your conversations should be carefully thought out and planned. You face greater consequences from your words, and from who you associate with. You can be physically assaulted by other inmates for speaking to someone they don’t like. There is a system in place and those rules (both written and unwritten) have to be followed. You shower when you are told, eat when you are told, leave and return to your cell when you are told. Much of what may be considered normal to the outside world is no longer acceptable once inside the prison gates. There are traditions set in place, for example, everyone banding together to pick on a new inmate at first. There are rules and boundaries about who you talk to. For example, telling the guards any information can get you attacked. In some cases, even speaking to the guards at all can cause other inmates to attack you because it isn’t accepted and regardless of the conversation you have with the guard they may...

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