Center for Conflict Studies Knowledge as Action, Action as Change

Prison and Identity

Prison and Identity: Research Behind the Walls

Life in a prison can be a microcosm of the outside world. Conflicts are ever prevalent often presented as power struggles, social hierarchy is visible, cultures develop and roles are assumed and assigned, albeit all within a controlled environment. Identity, as a basic human need, is shaped through one’s life experiences. Does an individual coming into the prison come with an identity that they attempt to negotiate and maintain when inside bars? Does their identity undergo transformation while incarcerated? How does the time spent in prison change their identities when back in the world outside? This unique research project aims to break new ground by studying the role of identity in conflicts within prisons.

Pushpa Iyer, Director of the Centre for Conflict Studies, Julie Reynolds, a Research Fellow at the Centre and criminal justice reporter at The Monterey County Herald, and Kirill Prudnikov, CCS Intern, collaborate with Johnny Angel Martinez, a current prison inmate, to conduct this research study.

The research is at this time limited to those with gang associations who are currently incarcerated or who have been released.

Research Coordinators: Pushpa Iyer, Julie Reynolds, Kirill Prudnikov

Co-Researcher: Johnny Angel Martinez,

Expected date for Working Paper Publication: September 2013