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While the use of imprisonment continues to rise in developed nations, we have little sociological knowledge of the prison's inner world. Based on extensive fieldwork in a medium-security prison in the UK, HMP Wellingborough, The Prisoner Society: Power, Adaptation and Social Life in an English Prison> provides an in-depth analysis of the prison's social anatomy. It explains how power is exercised by the institution, individualizing the prisoner community and demanding particular forms of compliance and engagement.
Drawing on prisoners' life stories, it shows how different prisoners experience and respond to the new range of penal practices and frustrations. It then explains how the prisoner society - its norms, hierarchy and social relationships - is shaped both by these conditions of confinement and by the different backgrounds, values and identities that prisoners bring into the prison environment.