This chapter asserts that cooperation is the key to a new theory of punishment, and it depends on the quality of exchange possible. The singular metamorphosis that all people accomplish across a lifetime comes through the mastery of language. Language changes people, and the real hope for prison reform lies here. The world of conflict in prison naturally has its own language, and saturated as it now is with retributive instincts, it is in need of help. Every institution has a lingua franca that informs its behavior, and prisons are no exception. All institutions depend on a zone of “vocal silence,” the things not talked about on the edges of understood behavior. This zone plays an encompassing role in correctional facilities.
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