Brittany Friedman, a Rutgers University–New Brunswick expert on social control and prison organization, is available for commentary on prison violence, and the most recent cases in Oklahoma where several prisons across the state are on lockdown due to inmate fights.

Friedman said, “What is interesting about Oklahoma and similar historical examples such as the New Mexico Prison Riot is that prison officials immediately point to inmate coordination and gang activity as the reason for prison violence.  This official response is telling because it leaves out the fact that the 48,500 prohibited cellphones seized in Oklahoma prisons since 2011 were likely transported into the prison by corrupt prison guards.”

“Officials repeatedly note that contraband cellphones are integral to coordinated attacks, yet they fail to closely examine corruption amongst their own ranks and the financial and social control reasons for such corruption.  Financially, prison guards benefit immensely from selling cell phones to inmates.  But most importantly, if prison guards support gang conflict by encouraging attacks, their social control agenda is reinforced--meaning a divided inmate population allows outnumbered prison guards to lessen the likelihood such violence will be directed at them,” she continued.

For interviews, please contact Megan Schumann at or 848-445-1907.