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MetamorphosisHow to Transform Punishment in America$
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Robert A. Ferguson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300230833

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300230833.001.0001

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Prison Talk

Prison Talk

Chapter:
(p.136) 7 Prison Talk
Source:
Metamorphosis
Author(s):

Robert A. Ferguson

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300230833.003.0008

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.

Keywords:   language, cooperation, prison reform, lingua franca, vocal silence, correctional facilities

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