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Appealing to Justice$
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Kitty Calavita and Valerie Jenness

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780520284173

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520284173.001.0001

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Prisoners’ Counternarratives

Prisoners’ Counternarratives

“This Is a Prison and It’s Not Disneyland”

Chapter:
(p.80) Chapter 4 Prisoners’ Counternarratives
Source:
Appealing to Justice
Author(s):

Kitty Calavita

Valerie Jenness

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520284173.003.0004

This chapter reveals that nearly half of the men the authors interviewed believe in the fairness of the system in general and have faith in law and in evidence as the key ingredients in winning an appeal. Also, many prisoners viewed CDCR officials as human beings who are simply doing a job, and they spoke of other prisoners as abusers of the grievance system. The authors argue that this apparent ambivalence—cleaving to the fairness of the system that holds them captive, to the solidity of rights that at other points they disdain as a “joke,” to the fundamental decency of corrections officials whom they often complained about, and to the carceral logic of control that they mostly chafed at—underscores the enduring legitimacy of the law and, more broadly, the cultural power of both rights discourse and carceral logic.

Keywords:   fairness, legitimacy, ambivalence, rights discourse, carceral logic

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