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"Blood on the Walls: The Influence of Place Management on Jail and Prison Victimization" (Victor J. St. John): Review 2

Published onApr 20, 2023
"Blood on the Walls: The Influence of Place Management on Jail and Prison Victimization" (Victor J. St. John): Review 2

Vote: Publish pending major changes

I found the topic to be interesting, and the paper is written coherently. My initial thinking was, ‘Do not publish’. My reasoning for this is that I felt that the article is very descriptive with very little analytic content. I am also concerned that the methods described do not appear to be aligned with how the data is presented in the paper i.e. it came across as regular interview material rather than as data mined from discourse/discursive analysis. My reason for deciding that it should be considered for publication with major revisions is because I do think that the paper will be of interest to policymakers, but perhaps more importantly to prison authorities and managers. Another reason for this decision is that the idea of ‘place management’ in discussing prison/jail conditions is unique and could potentially link this paper to those more interested in spatial management. This makes sense given Foucault’s work on the panopticon, which is not raised in this paper but really should be given how formative it is. I also think that a discussion or description of the difference between ‘jail’ and ‘prison’ is critical in this paper – there is an assumption that people understand this difference, not recognizing that this is situated knowledge. What I am recommending then is the following:

  • Bring Foucault into the paper, particularly because of the focus on ‘place’, which is linked to surveillance and ‘body management’.

  • Be clearer about the methods used. Currently, there is no good alignment between what the stated methods are and how the data reads.

  • Include a discussion that distinguishes between what is meant by ‘jail’ and what is meant by ‘prison’ and how these would give rise to different experiences of their occupants.

  • Set out some guidelines for how prisons and jails could improve their place management and thereby reduce violent victimization.

  • I also think that the paper is very descriptive. Far greater attention to analysis needs to be incorporated into the paper to make it worthy of publication.

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