The Structural Functionalist Perspective of Prison Functionalism addresses society in terms of the function of its elements which are the norms, customs, traditions and institutions for that society. The Society we are looking at in this paper is the prison society and to me prison is a dysfunctional society. I feel this way because the elements which are the norms of prison is rape; the main custom of prison is the strongest rule through brute force, a tradition of prison is that all snitches die, and an institution for prison is the hole, where isolation from the rank and file might keep the inmate from being raped.
The structural functionalist perspective is that the society is the greater part and that the individual does not count for much. Yet in prison the individual is the most important element because the strongest rule while the weakest struggle to survive or just give up because they can’t endure the pain it takes to live in prison. Also, functionalist assumes that most members of society agree on what is desirable and worthwhile and that is not true in prison. The core value in prison is how best to degrade the new inmates and fight or kill to settle grudges.
The conflict theory is the proper theory to use for prison society because the strongest is the bourgeoisie and the weakest being the proletariat. There is a large social inequality in prison between the strong and the weak, the weak is bullied and made to do sexual favors for the strong. In my opinion the conflict theory is the best theory to associate with prison because the elite who are the strongest overtly use all the structures in the society to maintain power. Prison society emphasizes the social inequality of a social group because the strong take from the weak and belittle everything they do.
Prison society has a power difference, there is class conflict and historically it has always been this way. When you consider the prison guards who are on the outside of this society looking in, they are the controllers who have the power that controls the veneer behavior of the inmates, which a secret one known only to the men and women who live in this hell of limbo. The reason I say it is a secret society known only to the men and women who live in prison is because if the prison guards knew the real truth of intersociety they would have to put the strongest inmates in the hole and there is not enough holes to put that many inmates in. .