CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

This paper aims to analyse the work of prison management teams. Working in organizations that are mainly “autoregulated” by prison guards, governors’ teams have had to cope, for the last 15?years, with a heightened control exercised by the central administration. This “regulation of control” (Reynaud, 1988) is inter alia justified by the endemic phenomenon of overcrowding and the increasing interdependency between prisons and their environment. Despite the constraints implied by these shifts, prison governors preserve some auto­nomy through two types of deliberative practices allowing them to influence –marginally and ethically– prison organizations and policies. The first one, called practical wisdom or prudence (Champy, 2012), lies in the subtle bypassing of the rules in uncertain situations; the second one, called cunning, or ruse (Lécu, 2013), consists in denouncing the hypocrisy of some political discourses with the help of external partners.


  • management teams
  • prison management
  • prison policy
  • shifts
  • regulation
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