The technology of confinement and quasi-therapeutic control: Managing souls with in-cell television
The chapter considers developments in the contemporary technology of the prison and some emerging relations between confinement and therapeutic control. Specifically, the way that in-cell television is employed as a package of care which co-opts prisoners into a therapeutic relationship with television. This is operationalised and rationalised through mechanisms like the incentive and earned privilege system (IEP) in England and Wales. Television is prescribed (by staff and prisoners) to actively distract and minimize the harms of incarceration. In doing so, together staff and prisoners employ television to control the emotional responses to prison life. The culture of the prison has witnessed a shift in the ways social relations (interaction) operate, with many prisoners preferring to stay behind their cell doors. As an instrument of control, television allows staff to deliver what they frame as caring practice. With few other resources to engage prisoners in purposeful activity, the care giving features of television are routinely exploited, in particular providing time and space for prisoners to self-govern their own emotional lives. With the slow onset of other digital technologies that some prisoners are able to access, this chapter ends by considering how prison management may evolve with interactive digital technologies to hand.
Citation : Knight, V. (2017) The Technology of Confinement and Quasi-Therapeutic Control: Managing Souls with In-cell Television. In: McGuire, M. & Holt,T.J. (2017) The Routledge Handbook of Technology, Crime and Justice, Routledge
ISBN : 9781138820135
Research Group : Criminal Justice, Policy and Practice
Research Institute : Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice
Peer Reviewed : Yes