The 'dangerous other' in maximum-security prisons

Drake, Deborah (2011). The 'dangerous other' in maximum-security prisons. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 11(4) pp. 367–382.



Drawing on data from maximum-security prisons in England, this article explores the way the representation of criminals as ‘dangerous others’ manifests in prison discourse and practice. Following Bourdieu, it is argued that within the ‘habitus of maximum-security’, prison staff become somewhat predisposed to seeing prisoners as essentialised, ‘dangerous others’ who are not ‘like us’, a perspective that is also reinforced in popular and tabloid print media outside the prison walls. The strength of these representations coupled with the habitus of maximum-security thus constrains possibilities for alternative representations of prisoners labelled as ‘dangerous others’ or for alternative ways of structuring the ethos and conditions of maximum-security prisons.

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