Research over the past several decades shows that those who act in ways inconsistent with desired identities often account for (i.e., excuse or justify) their actions to save face and maintain social identities. While the bulk of research on the use of accounts examines how people make sense of behaviors that go against conventional values, recent research suggests that those who do not adhere to subcultural norms engage in similar talk. The current study builds on the sociology of accounts by exploring whether inmates articulate a convict code; whether they provide accounts for code violations that are comparable to those given by active offenders; and whether incarceration shapes inmates' use of these accounts. Interviews with 40 inmates residing in a maximum security prison suggest that they rely on linguistic devices to align their actions with subcultural beliefs and that the prison environment structures the pattern of these accounts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841 - 858
Number of pages17
JournalDeviant Behavior
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2013

    Research areas

  • convict code, sociology of accounts, inmates, maximum security prison, subcultural beliefs

ID: 94810