Prisons are characterized by a hierarchical and antagonistic institutional culture. The processes of the managerial and work culture in violent organizations, such as the prison, incorporate an explicit focus on authority and compliance with rigid rules and procedures; in this context, difference attracts harassment and victimization. These processes also encompass the enactment of 'ordinary' authority, the normalization of harassment, and the ways in which violence is embedded in routine conversations and explanations (Hearn, 1996; 55). Group relations can function to legitimize, socialize and reproduce the values and practices connected with violence (Morgan, 1987: 185). Thus a focus on peer group relations, between and within groups of officers and prisoners, is critical and may reveal that which we would rather not know: that the functioning of prisons may be actively and significantly counterproductive to their proclaimed task'the reduction of crime.