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Enforcing the Convict Code: Violence and Prison Culture

Rebecca Trammell
Enforcing the Convict Code: Violence and Prison Culture
ISBN: 978-1-58826-808-2
ISBN: 978-1-58826-924-9
2011/157 pages/LC: 2011028656
"Well written and intriguing.... A timely and valuable contribution to the corrections literature.... This text is crucial to exposing the realities of what actually takes place in prisons."—Rose Ricciardelli, Punishment & Society

"An insightful and valuable contribution.... Trammell's work speaks eloquently to the nuances of prison culture while rendering the complexities of inmate-on-inmate violence comprehensible to the reader."—Alice D. Horton, Canadian Journal of Sociology

"An in-depth [qualitative] account of exactly how and why violence occurs in prison, and the impact of inmates' culture of violence.... Both interesting and informative."—Dahlia Stoddart, Criminal Justice Review

"Presents an insightful perspective regarding the origin, existence, and impact of prison violence.... Ideal for graduate students, policy-makers, and those interested in the study of penology, corrections, sociology, and criminal justice."—Patrick R. Webb, Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice

"A much-needed analysis.... This book is a wonderful addition to criminological literature on prisons and social control."—Jodie M. Lawston, California State University San Marcos


Is it possible that a prison's gangs, racial tensions, and underground economy may actually serve to make it a less dangerous place? In this examination of violence behind bars, Rebecca Trammell illuminates the social code that prisoners enforce—in defiance of official rules and regulations—to maintain a predictable order.

Trammell also compares the experiences of male and female prisoners, underscoring the role of gender and sexual assault in shaping life behind bars. Equally important, she explores the significance of prison culture for the fate of convicts when they leave the prison environment.


Rebecca Trammell is assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice at Metropolitan State University of Denver.  


  • Violence Behind Bars.
  • Prison Culture.
  • Race and Gangs.
  • Gender, Sex, and Rape.
  • Interpersonal Conflict.
  • Mechanisms of Social Control.
  • Where Do We Go from Here?