Subject of the research is the prison system taken as a part of a complex apparatus of social control, which on the one hand penalize any deviation – criminal offence, on the other hand, however, it is also a tool which defines its borders. So in the wider conceptualization, prison service may be interpreted not only as a micro-world with its specific language, norms, values and practices (habits), but also as a vector of social and political forces and cultural processes which exceed its borders. The research conceptually develops and connects, among others, theories of total institution (E. Goffman), habitus (P. Bourdieu), re-socialization and mass imprisonment (L. Wacquant), on the background of which it registers specificity of the Czech prison service in the international context. The aim of the project is an analysis and interpretation of life strategies of convicts and employees in Czech penitentiaries. The research uses qualitative (involved observation, half-structured interviews, document analysis) and quantitative techniques (analysis of existing statistics). The research population: men and women in the execution of a punishment, prison employees (wardens, heads of the Execution of a Punishment Departments and their employees).