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Jeffrey Ian Ross

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Resisting the Carceral State: Prisoner Resistance from the Bottom Up

When an individual is sentenced to jail or prison, or given some other correctional sanction, the state has numerous moral and legal obligations, including providing a modicum of protection and safety to the persons who are incarcerated. When jail and prison conditions fall short of these guarantees, as they frequently do, numerous constituencies may respond. With respect to inmates, their reactions can vary along a continuum, from adaptations, to low-intensity and difficult to detect protest actions, to overt and wide-scale institutional violence. These later reactions can be easily interpreted as resistance to the crimes of states. This article briefly reviews the most dominant and deleterious prison conditions in U.S. jails and prisons, and the dominant forms of inmate adaptations and resistance to these crimes of the state. Finally, the article analyzes state responses to prisoner resistance, thereby capturing the dialectal nature of this process.

corrections, inmates, prisoner rights, prisoner resistance, state crime

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 36, No.3 (2009): 28-45

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