Graduate Program

Communication Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Elizabeth Gill

Thesis Committee Member

Jacquelyn B. Frank

Thesis Committee Member

Matthew J. Gill


Using Coordinated Management of Meaning, this study links socialization and identification with the intricate levels of the inmate code that male prisoners live by, or live with anyway, while being incarcerated. In doing so, the research showed that the more highly identified to the inmate code a prisoner is, the less likely he is to have a desire to coordinate the meaning of his stories lived with the stories told of others. Furthermore, this project uncovered a characteristic of metamorphosis, the TRAP, or Temporary Relapse Alluding to the Past. TRAP takes place when prisoners who have developed the ability to use the code to benefit their efforts towards rehabilitation by coordinating their meanings with a broader variety of people, including other inmates but staff as well, revert back to earlier behaviors that are typical of inmates who strongly identify with the inmate code. Practically, the findings of this research create a foundation to better tailor programs that can increase inmates' chances to have a successful re-entry into society.