Suspended Identity: Identity Transformation in a Maximum Security Prison
Format of Original
This article presents an empirically-grounded model of identity transformation that differs both from the gradual transformation processes that characterize most adult identity changes and from such radical transformation processes as brainwashing or conversion. Data for the study are derived from participant observation and focused interviews with first-time, short-term inmates at a maximum security prison. By attempting to suspend their preprison identities and constructing inauthentic prison identities through impression management, these inmates are able to forestall more radical identity change and to maintain a general sense of identity continuity for most of their prison careers.