Deterring Corruption by Prison Personnel

A Principle-Based Perspective

Sam S. Souryal
Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas

This article discusses corruption in U.S. prison institutions and proposes effective methods to deter its continuance. Unlike other research that has advocated increasing pain and brutality, this article presents a principle-based approach, not weak, spineless, or soft but indeed earnest, steadfast, and well disciplined. It balances the continuum between reinforcing rational and reasonable rules to control the behavior of inmates and mature and professional performance by enlightened correctional officers. This article is based on a solid assumption: The more civil the correctional institution is, the more civil, and the less violent, its residents will be. It questions the traditional belief that most prison inmates are subhumans who can be controlled only by violence, understand only the crunch of force, and detest the universal norms of fairness, dignity, and humanity. This article concludes by presenting a few practical propositions to better assist prison administrators in performing their duties more effectively and civilly.

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