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Sociological perspective on prison system

  • 05 Pages
  • Published On: 15-12-2023
Prison system

The British prison system is strict where France is situated in the Western Europe where the prison system is helpful to punish the people and protect them legally. The Prison Act 1877 has been implemented as the means of managing disciplines where the people are hold carefully for punishment against their crime in the society (Zinoman, 2018). There are short stay prisons containing the defendants waiting for their trials and the prisoners who are sentenced to less than two years. There are detention centre for the individuals showing a genuine desire for social reintegration. The central prison of France is the most dangerous prison, where the criminal are held with legal protection and care. There are also semi custodial centre for the individuals who can adjust their sentences with possible exits according to the schedule by the Judge (Zinoman, 2018). The juvenile centre is also there in the country, where the people under adult age are protected to ensure a better education and promote social inclusion. Hence, the prison system of France is a systematic structure, where the victims are staying with legal protection. With the reform of the prison system in France, there are the opportunities to work in the prison, as well as get health and safety benefits, canteen for buying foods, improve mental health of the prisoners through different counselling and activity sessions and rebalance of community spread disease (Smith and Ugelvik, 2017). The court of juries and the police have all the rights to hold the prisoners under effective supervision and monitoring. The torture and physical violence at the prisons are not accepted and there are various rehabilitation activities to improve the physical and mental health of the prisoners.


The French correctional administration are effective for the prisoners to maintain inmates ties with the family members during the confinement period in order to ensure that the prisoners are able to understand the social norms and values and they are successful in transition back to the community after release (Martin and Chantraine, 2018). The juvenile activities as well as health and education at the prison system are also effective for the prisoners to understand the social rules and norms for overcoming their thoughts and lead a normal life after release. The mistreated and misbehaviour are not entertained within the prison, so that every individuals can be treated fairly and they can improve their quality of life through education, access to health, counselling, working opportunities and engagement in social activities (Martin and Chantraine, 2018). Hence, French prison system is progressive and there is positive growth in the prisons where the prisoners are supported by the trained staff, jailor and supervisor. French government’s attempt to create more transparency in its correctional practices as well as participation of the mental health professionals are effecting to support the prisoners and improve their quality of life so that they can understand the social norms and values and live a normal life after release (Fijnaut, 2017).

Comparing sociological theory

The functionalism theory in sociology refers to the collective conscience with values, consensus, social orders, education, family, crime and deviances as well as mass media activities in the society, where it is possible to develop strong linkage among the individuals across the social communities. The key idea as per the functionalism theory is that crime is inevitable and even necessary in the society to contribute in managing wellbeing of the society as well as too much of crime is bad for the society (Meško, Tankebe and Fields, 2017). Crime is effective on the other side, where it helps to create social regulations, social integration and lead the society towards change for achieving sustainable social practices through maximising values and integrity. In this context, the French prison system is effective to support the prisoners and help them to engage with their families and friends in the prison as well as they have the access to rehabilitation, mental and physical health treatment and be engaged in the social activities (Mayeux, 2018). The functionalism practice is sociology hereby promote the French prison system through improving engagement of the prisoners with social activities, where through education and family engagement, the prisoners are supported to understand the social norms, values and beliefs to ensure that, the prisoners will be able to lead a normal life and contribute in the society positively after release (Meško, Tankebe and Fields, 2017). Hence, the functionalism practice for the prisoners is effective and fruitful for punishing the criminals and reinforcing the acceptable boundaries of behaviour. The integrated social system and continuous physical and mental health development of the prisoners provide a scope to restructure the social norms and mitigate the crime rates in future.

Contrasting sociological theory

Marxism focuses on explaining social phenomena within any given society by analysing the economic activities and material conditions required fulfilling human material needs and as per the theory, capitalism is main phenomenon to identify he social class and power of the individuals. It argues the failing of the system that lead to the condition of inequality and poverty which are the major cause of crime in the society (Akers and Jennings, 2019). As per the Marxist theory in sociology, the prisoner of the selected members of the lower classes neutralizes the opposition to the system and it further encourages criminal activities in the society by justifying the causes of crime among the individuals. As per the theory, the court, police and media focus on the working class street crime and the attention is diverted away from the immorality and greed of the elite class in the society (Akers and Jennings, 2019). Hence, Marxists view comes from the fact that higher rate of imprisonment refers to unequal wealth distribution in the country. By punishing the individuals and making them responsible is necessary to define them as social failures and it is impossible to break the structure of capitalism, for which crime rate is increasing along with poverty and inequality (Garland, 2018). Hence, there is lack of practices of rehabilitation and providing chance to the prisoners as per the Marxist view of sociology where capitalism is the major focus.

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Reference List

Akers, R.L. and Jennings, W.G., 2019. The social learning theory of crime and deviance. In Handbook on crime and deviance (pp. 113-129). Berlin: Springer.

Fijnaut, C., 2017. Criminology and the Criminal Justice System. A Historical and Transatlantic Introduction, Cambridge, Intersentia.

Garland, D., 2018. Theoretical advances and problems in the sociology of punishment. Punishment & Society, 20(1), pp.8-33.

Martin, T.M. and Chantraine, G., 2018. Prison Breaks. London: Palgrave MacMillan.

Meško, G., Tankebe, J. and Fields, C., 2017. Self-legitimacy, organisational commitment and commitment to fair treatment of prisoners: An empirical study of prison officers in Slovenia. European Journal of Crime, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, 25(1), pp.11-30.

Smith, P.S. and Ugelvik, T., 2017. Introduction: Punishment, welfare and prison history in Scandinavia. In Scandinavian penal history, culture and prison practice (pp. 3-31). London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Zinoman, P., 2018. The history of the modern prison and the case of Indochina. In Figures of Criminality in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Colonial Vietnam (pp. 152-174). London: Cornell University Press.

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