Penitentiary Institutions: Transforming Processes and Well-Being

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Although penitentiaries represent places whose necessary function is to limit anomy and deviance, a formally managed and closed organizational system prohibits the ability to make changes. Anyway, without changes these organizations may become ‘inadequate or alienating’ (Jaques, 1955). In the present issue we discuss relevant changes that occurred in the Italian penitentiary system and we highlight how this transformation can only occur as a result of dynamism and evolution skills; characteristics that are not often identified as prisons’ distinctive features.We propose that a ‘cultural reorganization’, developed in close collaboration with the human resources of the organization, is necessary. It follows that these changes require a profound restructuring of the organizational culture and several modifications at different levels are involved: a. institutional regulation, b. roles and identities of penitentiary professionals, and c. evaluation of the appropriateness of the punishment. For these reasons it’s essential to concentrate our attention on the ongoing transformational processes involving penitentiary institutions, carried out with the goal to achieve higher suitability of the penitentiary institutions to serve the community given the present socio-cultural context and the different needs of both the operators and the inmates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Evolution skills
  • Italian penitentiary system
  • organizational change

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