Civic Culture’s Relationship to Communication with Prisoners

face of a prisoner

The U.S. has established much harsher punishment than has Europe. Relative to Europe, U.S. culture is also much less influenced by the ideal of noble social status. For example, the title of professor is common in the U.S. Professors in the U.S. often aren’t treated with great awe and deference. In Europe, the title of professor is reserved as a mark of particularly high academic status. Professors in Europe command respect even if they merely produce ponderous nonsense. Recent scholarship has pointed to such differences to explain differences between the U.S. and Europe in the harshness of punishment.^

From its founding, American political culture has more highly valued communication as an aspect of self-realization and citizenship than has European political culture.^ The greater public importance attached to self-realization and citizenship in the U.S. has not been expressed in relatively greater concern to maintain communication with prisoners.

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