Giovanni Torrente

«Please, do not hurt him». Prison violence and operators' organizational practices

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Sociology of Imprisonment; Violence; Prison Reform; Ethnography; Prison Educator.

This article presents the results of an ethnographic research, carried out by the author while he was working as a prison educator. It focuses on the violence of incarceration, from the point of view of the organizational practices of operators. The study was conducted in a particularly hard prison; in this kind of prison, operators' decisional practices produce an additional form of violence to that implicit in imprisonment. Three main forms of violence are analyzed: the violence of inaction, bureaucratic violence, and the ambiguity of protection. In conclusion, it is argued that these «additional» forms of violence could be reduced by drastic changes in prison administration. This, however, would have little effect on the structural violence of prison. In facts, a number of observers have asked for this kind of institution to be abolished.

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