Retribution is a unique feeling or urge in the mind of some police or/and prison officers to punish criminals for their deed also over the legal procedures and sanctions. This motivation roots deeper in the personality of those officials. The socio-economical status (SES) of some prison officers is even worse than the SES of the majority of prisoners.
Low SES officers frequently tend to behaviors like sexism, ethnocentrism or racism. However these items are only in the superficial character of their self. In the deeper levels they have to face their cynic mentality, sadness, dissatisfaction, lack of coping ability and dependent personality traits. If we try to dig more deeper, we can see that low SES prison officers distressed, anxious and have phobias. These particles generate the retributive identity.
For these officers someone has to give instructions and orders and beside this they have to work directly with and among the inmates. This is a basic contradiction in their attitudes. They have to serve the inmates food, they have open up the doors for them, they have to escort them to see a doctor or a nurse, in some cases they have to save prisoners' life. They suffer traumas on each day of their duty. Their superior comes form the outside world: he or she did not need to work directly with prisoners; or in a more sad case the superiors were former low SES officers as well. This is an authoritarian environment in which the only chance to climb up is to adopt these values completely. Furthermore this also a competitive environment in which the prison officers' only chance to get better salary is to apply for a leadership position.
This results a special interaction between prisoners and prison staff. Low SES officers have the strongest informal but immanent authority in this setting and they hate prisoners in their veins. Other prison officers have to conform to these attitudes to survive their duty. Thus prisoners can not trust in prison officers, they can not meet a transparent system in which they could know what to do, where to seek help.
In such conditions prison can produce only human wrecks.