Between Inside and Outside: Prison Visiting Rooms

Special Report : Space and the social order
By Gwenola Ricordeau

This research on prison visits is based on a participant observation and interviews with prisoners and prisoners’ relatives. Prison visits are considered as an encounter between inside and outside. Visiting rooms are analyzed as a specific space within custody, and through the rhythms they generate for both inmates and visitors. The inside/outside border appears ambivalent when sociability (through the walls and behind bars) and social rhythms are investigated. Prisoners and their relatives experience various forms of freedom and custody during visits.

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