The current study examined the structure of social relations among Dutch prisoners using a social network perspective. Data came from the Life-in-Custody-study (LIC-study), a nationwide prospective study designed to examine the quality of prison life in the Netherlands. We used a subsample of 233 male prisoners from nine prison units for whom additional network data was collected using peer nominations to indicate who they get along with most. Exponential Random Graph Models revealed that network structure in prison resembles known friendship network structure outside prison, including reciprocity and transitivity in social ties (“the friends of my friends are my friends”) and homophily (i.e., a preference for similar others) on major sociodemographic dimensions such as religion and age. In conclusion, this study shows that a social network approach leads to valuable insights in social organization in prison that are also relevant for prison policy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine