Prison Environments and Psychological Survival

  • Hans Toch
Part of the Perspectives in Law & Psychology book series (PILP, volume 1)


We all know—or we all presume we know—that prison is hell. We know this through Goffman’s (1961) indictment of total institutions. We know it from prison studies (such as Sykes, 1966; Clemmer, 1940; Ward & Kassebaum, 1965)—studies that catalog “pains of imprisonment” and list extreme adjustments required of inmates to cope with captivity. We even know it from the laboratory, where Zimbardo (1972) has “brutalized” students in simulated cells.


Dimension Score Female Inmate Prison Environment Item Cluster Social Stimulation 


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  1. Cantril, H. The patterns of human concerns. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1965.Google Scholar
  2. Clemmer, D. The prison community. Boston: Christopher Publishing Company, 1940.Google Scholar
  3. Goffman, E. On the characteristics of total institutions: The inmate world. In D. Cressey (Ed.), Studies in institutional organization and change. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1961.Google Scholar
  4. Sykes, G. The society of captives. New York: Atheneum, 1966.Google Scholar
  5. Toch, H. Men in crisis: Human breakdowns in prison. Chicago: Aldine, 1975.Google Scholar
  6. Ward, D. A., and Kassebaum, G. G. Women’s prison: Sex and social structure. Chicago: Aldine, 1965.Google Scholar
  7. Zimbardo, P. Pathology of punishment. Trans-Action, 1972, 9, 4–8.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Toch
    • 1
  1. 1.State University of New York at AlbanyAlbanyUSA

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