Varieties of Prison Voyeurism: An Analytic/Interpretive Framework
The Prison Journal, Vol. 95, No.3, pp. 397-417, 2015.
21 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2015
Date Written: 2015
The public learns, experiences, and knows about jails, prisons, and the people who live and work there through a variety of mediums and/or methods. Not all situations are equal in terms of the cost to the individual, the reality of the experience, and the effect it may have on the participant. In an effort to better contextualize this process, this article develops a typology to better understand these methods of participation. Ten methods by which people can experience correctional facilities include, on one end of the spectrum, the highly personal experience of incarceration, and on the other end, attempts by individuals to understand and/or experience corrections without intimately engaging with the subject matter. This latter method, termed prison voyeurism, fails to contextualize the myths, misrepresentations, and stereotypes of prison life rather than clarifying or explaining them. The author develops a framework to interpret the jail and prison experience. Examples are drawn primarily from the American prison experience.
Keywords: prisons, prison reform, prison voyeurism, popular culture, jails, correctional facilities, incarceration, prison life
JEL Classification: K14, K19, K39, K42, K49, L89
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation