Doing Time: An Introduction to the Sociology of Imprisonment by Roger Matthews

By Roger Matthews

The re-creation of Doing Time brings this well known booklet updated and gives an obtainable and knowledgeable dialogue of present debates round prisons and penal coverage. Drawing on various foreign fabric the e-book presents a severe sociological research of advancements in imprisonment.

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Additional resources for Doing Time: An Introduction to the Sociology of Imprisonment

Example text

This paradoxical relation between time and imprisonment is explicable to some extent by identifying the different forms of time that are experienced both inside prison and in the wider society. There is a need to make a distinction between physical, mental and social time (Lefebvre, 1991). Physical time is the duration taken to perform certain tasks, and is gauged essentially in terms of the activities and experiences of the body. This is linked to biological rhythms and to the natural movements involved in seasonal change.

Besides this, in his desire to while away his time, he conjures up in his mind, and indulges, when he has the opportunity, in every sort of prurient and stimulative thought, and word, and where he can act … Now the whole of these evils would be remedied by introducing a system of task sentences. A man under a task sentence would strip his coat to work, he would set a proper value upon time, which under a time sentence is hated, and he would exert himself in such a way that he could not but improve, he must improve.

Narrow viewpoints in the tower would make it impossible for prisoners to see the guard and to know at any one particular moment whether or not they were actually being watched. Space, Time and Labour 31 For Bentham, the dual attraction of the Panopticon lay, first, in the possibility that regulation could operate independently of any particular controller and, second, in that those upon whom control was exercised were caught up in a power relation in which they themselves were the bearers. Panoptic power, therefore, has the essential characteristic that it is unverifiable, continuous, and brings both those who exercise it, and those who are subject to it, into a relation in which parties are complicit, although not necessarily actively engaged.

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