Written by Pam MS, NCSP | Fact checked by Psychology Dictionary staff 

1. a highly ordered and restrictive social institution which keeps up a high level of management over the activities of those people who are members of, or confined to, it. Prisons, cognitive health institutions, and military bases are examples, because almost all of the activities of prisoners, patients, and personnel are managed and overseen by the staff or officers. 2. a traditional social facility which comes to be so rigid that it takes on a multitude of qualities of a restrictive social institution.

TOTAL INSTITUTION: "Marriage has been classified often as a total institution."

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