Sometimes by going to the extreme you can see huge chunks of what goes on in the gray area called the middle. In this case, looking at the social dynamics of a Russian Penal Colony we can see and maybe better understand what goes in our own prison system.
Two points rise to the suface in what I have read. The first is that “most prisoner will cut a deal with their conscience” and “Moreover, prison has the same nightmarish effect on both prisoners and prison guards. And it is not yet clear which of them gets it worse.”
I will leave further comments for those that have and have not been to prison to speak.