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Inmate Code

The inmate code is part of the prisonization process whereby new inmates assimilate to life behind bars. The inmate code refers to an informal set of rules or norms that govern the behavior of incarcerated people. While there is some variability in the content of this code across time and context, there is widespread agreement that the norms of behavior embodied in the inmate code are distinct from the norms of mainstream society and contrary to the formal behavioral rules of penal institutions.

As a consequence, the inmate code provides normative support for rule and law violations among inmates and contributes to a social milieu in prisons that encourages disruptive and illegal behavior. Normative support makes it psychologically easier for people to commit acts that are ...

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