carceral organizationany organization, such as the prison system or mental hospitals, in which individuals are held confined for punishment or correction and prevented from ‘normal’ social relations in the wider society The existence of such specialized institutions of incarceration is held by some to be a particular feature of modern societies (e.g. FOUCAULT, 1975). See also TOTAL INSTITUTION OR TOTAL ORGANIZATION, SURVEILLANCE.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000