Communicating Behind Bars: A Guide for Prison Inmates, Family and Friends
This workbook is published with permission from the legal copyright holder, JOREA M. KELLEY HARDISION, Nationally Certfied Psychiatric Technican and Former Texas Board Certified Criminal Justice Addictions Professisonals (Class A Status) and PARfessionals Behavioral Health Research Development Corporation, Little Rock, Arkansas More
Communication is a social skill that has been around since the existence of humankind.
History shows that communication has many forms that have evolved from symbols and
pictures to speaking and writing in different languages. It is reasonable to say because of
communication, humans successfully worked together to create the world as it exist today.
Closely tied to communication is the environment or surroundings which shape the
communication process. As a person interacts with others, he or she adjusts their attitudes and
behaviors to adapt to their environment. It is important to note, most environments are
organized as a hierarchy system designed with rules and regulations. For instance, in a
workplace environment, communication is exchanged in a professional and respectful manner.
The environment is the workplace, management staff, customers, and co-workers. In schools,
communication is informative and encouraged between students and teachers for the benefit
of educating and learning. The environment is the school, administrative staff, teachers and
other students. As for those who are incarcerated, the environment is the prison facility, staff,
and inmates. The communication process in prison is often more complicating than most
settings. This is mostly due to restrictions on inmate interactions. Furthermore, hierarchy
systems exist in almost all societies and are necessary to establish order and provide an
organized communication process. With this guide, a person can learn techniques to better
communicate in the prison environment. Ultimately, the goal is for an inmate to learn coping
techniques to avoid conflict with others and placement in the SHU’s (Special Housing Units).