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Williams, A.H. (1981). Psychological Survival. The Experience of Long-Term Imprisonment: By Stanley Cohen and Laurie Taylor. London: Penguin Books. 1981 (2nd Edition). Pp. 239.. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 8:478-478.

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(1981). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 8:478-478

Psychological Survival. The Experience of Long-Term Imprisonment: By Stanley Cohen and Laurie Taylor. London: Penguin Books. 1981 (2nd Edition). Pp. 239.

Review by:
A. Hyatt Williams

First published in 1972, this book is of immense importance to anyone who believes that individual human beings are best able to fulfil their potential in interactive groups of other humans. These groups vary in size, aim and methods of functioning. Most of these people who find themselves serving long prison sentences have carried out one or more depredations directed against other people or against material property. Some have attacked the system of government in a violent way. The authors show very clearly how what is known as control has been exerted by means of techniques which involve the isolation of certain prisoners who are regarded as requiring conditions of maximum security. Communication and association time during which prisoners interact together, form friendships, settle differences and generally interact with each other are frustrated, impeded and reduced to a minimum as a matter of practice. One is led to suspect that isolation might be a matter of policy.

Most psychoanalysts would think, as I do, that it is implicit in every page of this book, that however difficult the task may be, the policy should be to help prisoners towards the goal of self-control, and away from the impulsion or compulsion to repeat antisocial crimes. The reviewer has found that the central presenting picture is not always, or even usually, an indication of prognosis. In other words, some people whom one expects to do well, do badly and vice versa. Those who do well are totally

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