Research Paper: Prison Co-Culture and Its Relationship With Time

Pages: 5 (1450 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice  ·  Buy This Paper

¶ … Prison Co-Culture

It is highly likely that Chronemics plays a powerful role in Prison Culture.

Definition of Chronemics

The study of how time is used in non-verbal communication is called Chronemics. This discipline examines individual and cultural perceptions of time, evaluations of time, and reactions to time within set or defined situations. We don't often stop to consider time as a part of our individual inter-personal activities, but time can play a considerable role in the process of non-verbal communication. Cultural perceptions about time include expectations about punctuality on a short-time basis for social events, as well as time responsibility with longer-term events such as employment or contractual work. Not only punctuality, but also 'willingness to wait' is a part of our cultural time perceptions. How we consider and use time has an effect on personal interactions, such as listening, daily agendas, and rapidity or rate of speech (which is also influenced by one's personal language) (Cohen, 2004; Miller et al., 2010).

The influence of time on cultures, or cultures on time, its perception, and what is considered to be 'appropriate' behavior is also obvious. Two definitions describing the way in which cultures perceive or act upon time are poly-chronic and mono-chronic. A poly-chronic time system includes a more flowing or loose perception of time. This maybe scheduling several activities simultaneously, or may mean that an appointment time is not considered to be definite or restrictive. Cultural time-differences may become apparent if, for example, one hires a contractor, expecting to have a task done by a certain time. They may also become apparent if one travels to a different country, for business or pleasure (Koester and Lustig, 2003; Miller et al., 2010).

When we consider 'time' in the light of a person who is incarcerated, it can be seen to be rather rigidly proscribed, and thus mono-chronic. It is obviously also impacted by 'status', with the prisoner essentially having no status and having their time strictly defined according to prison rules. The schedule in a prison is precisely defined, from time of wake-up through various times of inspection, exercises, meals, and free-time, if any. Furthermore, should a prisoner be deemed to have 'broken the rules', any of their supposed 'free-time' can readily be removed. The prisoner has no say in how their time is defined, and can only act in methods such as those described below, to try to 'buck the system', and gain at least a temporary illusion of control. The sections below describe three different prison schedules; these are necessarily generalized and might vary from one prison to another (Cohen, 2004; Miller et al., 2010). Each of the examples below is correlated differently with chronemic theory.

Chronemic Theories and their Correlation with Prison Timetables

Theory of Interpersonal Deception

Interpersonal Deception Theory was originated and described by Judee Burgoon and David Buller (1996). This theory of Chronemics directly relates to personal communications, often one-on-one, and postulates that the person 'sending' the communication is deliberately attempting to be untruthful. This has two aspects: first, the sender may have concern as to whether or not their 'lie' will be detected; second, the receiver is also, normally, paying attention to both the message and the individual, and from this observation will make a decision concerning the truthfulness of the sender.

Application of the Chronemics aspect of Interpersonal Deception Theory can readily be examined by considering a medium security prison. The time-table for inmates in such a facility is described below.

Twenty-four-hour-a-day incarceration is not always practiced in a medium security prison. This is because the prison term includes labor outside the prison, for example as squads of prisoners who are assigned to various jobs. These jobs may include working in fields at or near the prison, such as a state prison farm. The job might also involve working on the roadside with tasks such as clearing or cutting brush, or picking up trash. The inmates are supervised by armed officers of the prison during the time that they are not inside the prison walls. As well, there are often security towers in the walls of the prison itself, with additional armed correctional officers (NCDPS, 2012).

A generalized schedule for the inmates of a medium security prison include a wake-up call at 5:30 AM,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Prison Co-Culture and Its Relationship With Time.  (2014, November 27).  Retrieved October 19, 2019, from

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"Prison Co-Culture and Its Relationship With Time."  November 27, 2014.  Accessed October 19, 2019.