Prisonization Law and Legal Definition

Prisonization is the process of accepting the culture and social life of prison society. It can be described as a process whereby newly institutionalized offenders come to accept prison lifestyles and criminal values. Prisonization forms an informal inmate code. Prison inmates slowly accept these institutional features and codes of the prison in their struggle for survival.

Although many inmates begin their prison experience with only a few values that support criminal behavior, the socialization experience they undergo while incarcerated leads to a much greater acceptance of such values. Prisonization includes all changes the prisoner undergoes in prison, whether due to adoption of subcultural values, opposition to the subculture, or changes unrelated to the subculture.