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Prison gangs, norms, and organizations

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Author Info

  • Skarbek, David

Abstract

Much of the order that exists in the inmate social system is not the result of government action. How do prisoners create order? Inmates use a combination of norms and organizations to provide governance privately. Norms rely on decentralized information transmission and enforcement mechanisms. Organizations, on the other hand, have well-defined memberships and create explicit information transmission and enforcement mechanisms. Inmates cannot rely on norms for governance when the inmate population is large, increasingly crowded, and when fewer inmates arrive with a prior prison commitment. When norms fail, inmates create organizations to protect themselves and provide governance. Once these groups have the power to deter predators, they prey on others. Contemporary and historical evidence from California correctional facilities provide support for these claims and suggest an explanation of the origin and growth of prison gangs.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 82 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 96-109

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:82:y:2012:i:1:p:96-109

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

Related research

Keywords: Governance institutions; Norms; Organized crime; Prison; Prison gangs;

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References

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  1. SEA/SDAE: Consequences of Central Banking, Intended and Unintended
    by Nicolas Cachanosky in Punto de Vista Economico on 2013-11-28 03:01:38
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Cited by:
  1. T. Randolph Beard & Richard Alan Seals Jr. & Michael L. Stern, 2014. "Security and Government Credibility," Auburn Economics Working Paper Series auwp2014-07, Department of Economics, Auburn University.
  2. Peter Leeson, 2013. "Gypsy law," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 273-292, June.
  3. Koyama, Mark, 2012. "The Law and Economics of Private Prosecutions in Industrial Revolution England," MPRA Paper 40500, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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