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kindness, mercy, forgiveness, or leniency, usually relating to criminal acts


an executive act that reduces the severity of the punishment


an executive act that removes both punishment and guilt


the conditional release of a prisoner, prior to completion of the imposed sentence, under the supervision of a parole officer

discretionary release

early release based on the paroling authority's assessment of eligibility

mandatory release

early release after a time period specified by law

parole eligibility date

the earliest date on which an inmate might be paroled

paroling authority

a person or correctional agency that has the authority to grant parole, revoke parole, and discharge from parole

salient factor score

scale, developed from a risk-screening instrument, used to predict parole outcome


a person who is conditionally released from prison to community supervision

reentry court

a court that managed the return to the community of individuals released from prison


the normal patterns of behavior expected of those holding particular social positions

staff roles

the patterns of behavior expected of correctional staff members in particular jobs

gain time

time taken of an inmates sentence for participating in certain positive activities such as going to school, learning a trade, and working in prison

structured conflict

the tensions between prison staff member and inmates that arise out of the correctional setting

staff subculture

the beliefs, values, and behavior of staff. they differ greatly from those of the inmate subculture

correctional officer personalities

The distinctive personal characteristics of correctional officers, including behavioral, emotional and social traits

block officers

Those responsible for supervising inmates in housing areas

work detail supervisors

those who oversee the work of individual inmates and inmate work crews

industrial shop and school officers

Those who ensure efficient use of training and educational resources within the prison

yard officers

those who supervise inmates in the prison yard

administrative officers

those who control keys and weapons and sometimes oversee visitation

perimeter security officers

those assigned to security (or gun) towers, wall posts, and perimeter patrols. These officers are charged with preventing escapes and detecting and preventing intrusions

relief officers

Experienced correctional officers who know and can perform almost any custody role within the institution, used to temporarily replace officers who are sick or on vacation or to meet staffing shortages


tension in a persons boy or mind, resulting from physical, chemical, or emotional factors.


The beliefs, values, behavior, and material objects shared by a particular group of people within a larger society

total institution

a place where the same people work, play, eat, sleep, and recreate together on a continuous basis.

inmate subculture

the habits, customs, mores, values, beliefs, or superstitions of the body of inmates incarcerated in correctional institutions; also, the inmate social world


the process by which inmates adapt to prison society; the taking on of the ways, mores, customs, and general culture of the penitentiary

pains of imprisonment

major problems that inmates face, such as loss of liberty and personal autonomy, lack of material possessions, loss of hetero-sexual relationships, and reduced personal security

deprivation theory

the belief that inmate subcultures develop in response to the deprivations in prison life

importation theory

the belief that inmate subcultures are brought into prisons from the outside world

integration model

a combination of importation theory and deprivation theory. The belief that, in childhood, some inmates acquired, usually from peers, values that support law-violating behavior but that the norms and standards in prison also affect inmates

prison code

a set of norms and values among prison inmates. It is generally antagonistic to the official administration and rehabilitation programs of the prison

prison argot

the special language of the inmate subculture

inmate roles

prison lifestyles; also, forms of ongoing social accommodation to prison life


family like structures, common in women's prisons, in which inmates assume roles similar to those of family members in free society

coed prison

a prison housing both female and male offenders


the incarceration and interaction of female of female and male offenders under a single institutional administration

hands-off doctrine

A historical policy of American courts not to intervene in prison management. Courts tended to follow the doctrine until the late 1960s

prisoners rights

Constitutional guarantees of free speech, religious practice, due process, and other private and personal rights as well as constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishments made applicable to prison inmates by the federal courts.

constitutional rights

the personal and due process rights guaranteed to individuals by the US Constitution and its amendments, especially the first 10, known as the Bill of Rights. Constitutional rights are the basis of most inmates rights

institutional needs

prison administration interests recognized by the courts as justifying some restrictions on the constitutional rights of prisoners. Those interests are maintenance of institutional order, maintenance of institutional security, safety of prison inmates and staff, and rehab of inmates

civil liability

A legal obligation to another person to do, pay, or make good something

writ of habeas corpus

an order that directs the person detaining a prisoner to bring him or her before a judge, who will determine the lawfulness of the imprisonment


a civil wrong, a wrongful act, or a wrongful breach of duty, other than a breach of contract, whether intentional or accidental, from which injury to another occurs.

nominal damages

small amounts of money a court may award when inmates have sustained no actual damages, but there is clear evidence that their rights have been violated

compensatory damages

money a court may award as payment for actual losses suffered by a plaintiff, including out of pocket experiences incurred in filing the suit, other forms of monetary or material loss, and pain, suffering, and mental anguish

punitive damages

money court may award to punish a wrongdoer when a wrongful act was intentional and malicious or was done with reckless disregard for the rights of the victim


a judicial order to do or refrain from doing a particular act


The power, right, or authority of a court to interpret and apply the law.


a previous judicial decision that judges should consider in deciding future cases

legitimate penological objectives

the realistic concerns that correctional officers and administrators have the integrity and security of the correctional institution and the safety of staff and inmates

balancing test

a method the US Supreme Court uses to decide prisoners rights cases, weighing the rights claimed by inmates against the legitimate needs of prisons

Cruel and unusual punishment

a penalty that is grossly disproportionate to the offense or that violates todays broad and idealistic concepts of dignity. In the area of capital punishments are those that involve torture, a lingering death, or unnecessary pain

consent decree

a written compact, sanctioned by a court, between parties in a civil case, specifying how disagreements between them are to be resolved

deliberate indifference

intentional and willful indifference. within the field of correctional practice, the term refers to calculated inattention to unconstitutional conditions of confinement

totality of conditions

a standard to be used in evaluating whether prison conditions are cruel and unusual

due process

a right guaranteed by the fifth, sixth, and fourteenth amendments to the US constitution and generally understood, in legal contexts, to mean the expected course of legal proceedings according to the rules and forms established for the protection of persons right

frivolous lawsuits

lawsuits with no foundation in fact. They are generally brought for publicity, political, or other reasons not related to law.

First Amendment

freedom of religion, speech, press, and the right to assemble peacefully

Fourth Amendment

the right against illegal search and seizure

Eighth Amendment

the right to protect from cruel and/or unusual punishment

Fifth Amendment

the right to due process


he wrote a strongly critical review state prison discipline. As cruelty debases both victim and society, and punishment should not be vindictive but should aim at the reform of the convict to observe social constraints. A convicts imprisonment should consist of task, not time sentences, with release depending on the performance of a measurable amount of labour.

walton croftin

Believed the length of the sentence should not be an arbitrary period of time but should not be related to the rehabilitation of the offender

Zebulon Brockway

is the father of prison reform

Marx system

penal method developed about 1840 by Alexander Maconochie at the English penal colony of Norfolk Island (located east of Australia). Instead of serving fixed sentences, prisoners there were held until they had earned a number of marks, or credits, fixed in proportion to the seriousness of their offenses. A prisoner became eligible for release when he had obtained the required number of credits, which were accumulated for good conduct, hard work, and study and could be denied or subtracted for indolence or misbehaviour. The mark system symbolized the decline of the "let the punishment fit the crime" theory of correction and presaged the use of indeterminate sentences, individualized treatment, and parole. Above all, it emphasized training and performance as the chief mechanisms of reformation.

Estil vs. gamble

prison officials have the duty to provide inmates with proper medical care

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