Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

David C. Pyrooz

Second Advisor

Michael Radelet

Third Advisor

Jason Boardman


Prisonization indicates the degree which an individual adheres to the prison subculture, also known as the convict code. The convict code can be characterized using three domains: criminal identify and beliefs, antisocial group cohesion, and opposition toward the criminal justice system. Strong convict code adherence has been linked to multiple antisocial outcomes. Therefore, understanding how adherence to the convict code persists across time and location will allow criminologists and social scientists to better understand the consequences of incarceration on the release experience. The current study uses a sample of 1,035 people and 7,768 person-periods from the Pathways to Desistance Study and fixed-effect models to investigate patterns of within-person adherence to the convict code, operationalized as moral disengagement, association to antisocial peers, and perceived legitimacy of the criminal justice system, across multiple stints of incarceration. This analysis will test three theories—the deprivation and importation models, and a new theory I present called the durability model which addresses how adherence to the code may be expected to persist during release. Results from fixed-effect models and post hoc analyses show three main findings. First, a person’s adherence to the code is never expected to decrease during an incarceration period. Second, adherence to the code rarely changes during release periods relative to corresponding incarceration periods. And third, trends of code adherence across location show considerable support for the durability model. Programming implications are discussed.

Included in

Criminology Commons