Donald Clemmer

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Criminaljustice has evolved over time through various changes as a result ofdiscoveries that have been made by some scholars and leaders. DonaldClemmer has been echoed for his contributions in the criminal justicethrough analyzing how incarceration affects the lives of inmatesafterward. According to him, despite there being correctionalfacilities studies found out that criminal activity of some peopledid not diminish rather increased after being in jail(Bosworth, 2016).The fact that prisoners consist of a community that has beenstigmatized by the society because of their faults has made thatcommunity to be alienated from the general society in terms ofthinking and acting. Also, Clemmer adds that their behavior is alsoinfluenced by that fact that they are kept in restricted areaswithout any privacy of any kind above interacting in personal ways.The confusion of such a world that has been dominated and subjectedto submit without a well-established social structure makes theconditions more befitting to breed more criminal activities. It isthe world of `I`, `me`, and `mine` rather than `ours` `theirs` and`his or her`(Clemmer, 1950).&quotSuch a community is characterized by unhappy, resigned, bitter,thwarted, hating, and revengeful people who are inefficient,improvident and socially illiterate. As a result of his finding, thecriminal justice has been reformed in a way that is more productiveto the correctional system. The changes have included visiting times,house arrest, separation of inmates depending on the level of crimes,provision of educational assistance and reformation, and theintroduction of curriculum activities.

Keywords:incarceration, inmates, reforms, criminal

Thedesire to have an upright society led to the formation of law andorder organizations with time in the society(Gaes, 2016).Organized police systems were instituted, but that could not stopcriminals from their actions that prompted the development of prisonfacilities. Prisons replaced corporal and capital punishments thatwere previously used by people to correct behavior. But, over decadesthese numbers have significantly grown causing dissent voices on therole of prisons plays in the transformation of the ill society.

Despitethere being correctional facilities studies found out that criminalactivities of some people did not diminish rather increased afterbeing in jail. This fact attracted a lot of attention. Just ashumanitarians had already had their impact in other fields, theyinfluence the formation of penal codes and rehabilitation ofcorrectional facilities (Gaes,2016).Rehabilitation, especially in juvenile, is usually focused on theunderage.

Criminaljustice researchers and humanitarians have been concerned about howpeople adjust to incarceration life. They have gone as far asexamining and describing the pain exhibited and the characteristicsthat a more or less adjusted inmate possesses. These patterns ofadoption of incarceration conditions have significant socialimplications. According to , the concept of“prisonization” or incarceration is defined as &quotthe takingon in greater or lesser degree of the folkways, mores, customs, andthe general culture of the penitentiary,&quot(1950).

Tohim, though he did not have any scientific explanation, he believedthat prison life molds the lives of those who have experienced it. Heunderstood that human nature was too complicated to dissect andanalyze and determine why with precision a particular cause of humanbehavior is exhibited. He added that people are different in natureand for that reason, the psychiatrist and the sociologist can neitherclaim to understand in full, the logical causes of human behavior.

Toexplain his concept of how imprisonment life affects those who areunder its influence, he uses the lives of those prisoners that havebeen released from confinement. He claimed that when people arereleased from incarceration, there is a high probability that agreater number of them will be arrested for other felonies. He statesthat four-fifths of inmates that were in the post-parole program in reformatory Massachusetts facility turned out to be failures whenthey followed up to check out their change in behavior for 5 to 15years after their release (Clemmer, 1950).

Clemmeralso pointed out that in America 10% and 20% of inmates that were inparole violated it(Gaes, 2016).Headded that above participating in crimes these inmates who had beenincarcerated committed even more sophisticated ones when they werereleased. To provide a solution, he answers the question of howprison life influences inmates. He states that it is logical topresume that culture influences inmates’ lives and how they behaveafterward just as it impacts people’s behavior anywhere.

Thefact that prisoners consist of a community that has been stigmatizedby the society because of their faults has made that community to bealienated from the general society in terms of thinking and acting.Also, Clemmer adds that their behavior is also influenced by thatfact that they are kept in restricted areas without any privacy ofany kind above interacting in personal ways.The confusion of such aworld that has been dominated and subjected to submit without awell-established social structure makes the conditions more befittingto breed more criminal activities.

Furthermore,the people in confinement have no define communal objectives orgoals. The inmates are always in constant conflict and fights withinthemselves just as they are with the officialdom and society. Theirlives in there are marred with trickery and dishonesty, whichovershadows cooperation and sympathy. If there is any cooperation, itis a symbiotic one, and the controls especially social are noteffective.

Clemmersums the condition as a &quotworld of individuals whose dailyrelationships are impersonalized. It is the world of `I`, `me`, and`mine` rather than `ours` `theirs` and `his or her`. (Clemmer, 1950)&quotSuch a community is characterized by unhappy, resigned, bitter,thwarted, hating, and revengeful people who are inefficient,improvident and socially illiterate. Also, Clemmer adds how thedrabness, stinky and filthy world of prison shapes the behavior ofinmates.

Thus,&quotprisoners and prison are what they are because of the mood andthe temper of the society concerning them.&quot He proposed thatinstitutions could be organized such that they became lessdeleterious. While citing out the problems in the correctionalfacility, he gave credit to the progress the “penological”methods had impacted in the transformation of prisoners behavior, buthe also cited why the system faced little effect in its approach(Clemmer, 1950).

Hecited that it is quite difficult for a facility that has theresponsibility to punish and discipline to also reform and teachself-reliance. To him, it is ironical that facilities that are builtlike impersonal machines to make men behave social responsible like afunctional community. He added that people cannot developself-reliant skills and individual initiatives if they operateaccording to an autocratic routine.

Furthermore,the rules that govern prisoners taught them to be idle despite one ofthe goals of those regulations being to impact them with criticalskills to make an honest living. Such conflict and confusion in rolesare what have made prisons continue breeding crime, despite thepresence of services such as social education, psychiatric andvocational. Thus, Clemmer states that the processes of absorbingprison culture as &quotprisonization.&quot

Itis important to note that men and women who are caught and send toprison are not different from those that are already there (Clemmer,1950). As a consequence, they fuse easily and assimilate the staticculture that is already functional in that environment. He adds thefact that a man or woman enters a prison and becomes anonymous andgiven a number which replaces his or her name and wears clothes of asubordinate group and learn that the warden is all powerful, leavesvery little room for reformation.

Asif that is not enough, he/she learns the trickery of the inmates andstarts to refer others using nicknames that are familiar in thatenvironment. Once in prison, people learn unhealthy behaviors suchfinally demographic characteristics such as criminality, race,regional conditioning, age, and nationality (Bayens&amp Roberson, 2011).

Clemmerargued that prisoners who do not suffer majorly from criminalizationmight be as a result that the correctional facility was effective. As a consequence, they do not get arrested, and return to prisons assome measures in the prison helped prevent recidivism. Also, it mightbe because the treatment method such surgical or psychiatrictreatment cured their criminality, thus redirecting or changing theirattitudes and behaviors.

Othersmight refrain as a result of the undesirable experience that theywent through while in prison, which might have been painful thusblocking the desire to commit a crime. If a person is released from aprison and he/she pursues criminal activities, it can be attributedto “prisonization” and tainting of someone’s personalization.Also, criminalization is contributed by lack of sufficient resourcesin the free society to support the ex-convicts to prevent or thwartsuch behaviors. Thus it is right to say that the society provides asuitable environment for the progress of crime.

However,he stated that despite having the best programs in these facilities,incarceration frequently raises the levels of criminality. Thisconcept has allowed humanitarians and sciences to come up with betterways that shape the techniques that are used in treating themaladjusted than prisons, which increase the rate of criminality(Bayens &amp Roberson, 2011).Asa result of Clemmer’s concept, the criminal justice has come upwith various correctional programs that reduce the effects ofincarceration.

aseating in haste, gambling, and abnormal sexual behaviors. As timecontinues, they learn to hate and distrust the parole board, officersand each other. Such characteristics disrupt someone’s personalitymaking it impossible for them to adjust happily to society (Gaes,2016).

Clemmeradded that whether a person criminal behaviors persist after he/shehas gone to a correctional facility depends on the personality, theties he/she has with his family or friends, whether he/she becomesaffiliated with any groups in the facility, chance to be placed in aroom with a member posing such a threat, whether he/she accepts thedogmas of prison’s culture, and

Forinstance, when a person leaves a prison they are provided withknowledge, which enables him to be still relevant within the society(Bosworth, 2016).Such skills like vocational ones enable a person to be self-reliant.It has been difficult for ex-convicts to get a job once they are donewith their term, thus to counter that problem it has become necessarythat men and women are trained on how to do simple chores which, willsustain their lives and families.

Also,psychiatrists have widened their training and skills as most of theproblems experienced are multicultural. Previously prisoners werecounseled and offered therapy treatment, which only factored a singleculture, yet the inmates came from all walks of culture. Also, toprovide emotional support, it has become necessary that the criminaljustice system provides spiritual teachings, which enable inmates torecollect and come to their conscious.

Also,the visiting times have been prolonged and increased to enable theinmates to have ample time with their families, which reduces theincrease in criminal activities while it enhances family connections(Bosworth,2016).Furthermore, the criminal justice system has introduced theseparation of inmates based on the magnitude of the crimes that havebeen committed. For instance, capital crime and high profileoffenders are confined in high maximum facilities this reduces therate of “prisonization.”

Also,the justice system has also reformed its penal code system.Previously, crimes were not systematically punished this made thewhole justice system be confused. Today, people are not sentenced toprison for some crimes. Instead, they perform community service. Thiscorrectional service enables members to avoid being imprisoned(Bosworth, 2016).Thus they retain their personality. Also, inmates or victims thathave committed more crimes in the society the justice system haveimprovised life incarceration which reduces the rate of the crimesthese people commit.

Also,Clemmer`s concept and ideologies have enabled the justice system andhumanitarian to keep coming up with better programs that streamlinethe justice system. Also, the reformation of the justice system ledto the formation of juvenile schools which provided adequateeducation and supportive programs with intention to treat theprobability of future crimes. The care at juvenile has become aholistic one which takes in consideration physical and emotionaldemands of a client (Bosworth,2016).


DonaldClemmer gave an eye opener to the criminal justice answering thequestion, &quotwhy do crime still increase despite people being incorrectional facilities?&quot In his argument, he stated thatprison`s culture greatly influences how people behave after servingtheir time. He added that the surrounding of the prison itself suchas confinement and the role played by the correctional officers madeit difficult for reforms to be effective. People might stop beinginfluenced depending on their personality, family ties andundesirable experienced in prison.

Also,he stated that the inmate you are with, a gang you associate,nationality, the crime you committed, age and sex determine thepropensity for criminal behaviors. As a result of his finding, thecriminal justice has been reformed in a way that is more productiveto the correctional system. The changes have included visiting times,house arrest, separation of inmates depending on the level of crimes,provision of educational assistance and reformation, and theintroduction of curriculum activities. Thus, the correctional systemhas become one which is holistic in reforming the behavior of thecriminal.


Bayens,&nbspG.&nbspJ.,&amp Roberson,&nbspC. (2011). Criminaljustice research methods: Theory and practice(2nd&nbsped.). Hoboken, NJ: CRC Press.

Bosworth,M. (2016). Bordercriminologies:The changing architecture of crime and punishment(PDF).Retrieved from

Clemmer,&nbspD.(1950). Observation on imprisonment as a source of criminality.Journalof criminal law and criminology,41(3),311-321.

Gaes,G. G. (2016). Does a prison term prevent or promote more crime.AdvancingCriminology and Criminal Justice Policy,282.

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