Prison Staff and Family Visits: United Kingdom Case Study
Humanities and Social Sciences
Volume 8, Issue 2, March 2020, Pages: 63-72
Received: Apr. 19, 2020; Accepted: May 13, 2020; Published: May 27, 2020
Views 246      Downloads 117
Authors
Avon Hart-Johnson, College of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Walden University, Minneapolis, MN, United States
Geoffrey Johnson, DC Project Connect (DCPC) Independent Research, DCPC, Washington, DC, United States
Article Tools
Follow on us
Abstract
Recent studies have illuminated how families are affected by prison staff engagement during prison visits. Prison staff, by virtue of their positions, exercise power and authority over families during prison visits processes and potentially play a vital role in shaping inmate-family experiences. Although some interactions with prison staff may be cordial, others have been reported as stressful for visitors, especially families with children. Yet many family visitors endure stressful encounters since visits can serve as portals for bonding between inmates and their families. Over the past two decades, some prisons in the United Kingdom (UK) have invested in developing family-oriented practices and visits protocol, where prison staff oversee the visits process. This is in contrast to prison staff who tend to take on a police-officer mentality whereby policing behaviors or personal philosophies are aligned with implied suspicion, mistrust, and apprehension towards inmates and families. Given such, prison staff interpretation of their roles and engagement with families is of research interest. The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to understand how UK prison staff interpreted their roles during family visits and determine why this evolution towards family-focus visiting took place. To answer the research inquiry, a heterogeneous sample of prison staff from private and public sector prisons and advocacy center contractors employed at two prisons in the United Kingdom were recruited to provide broad perspectives on staff roles during the process of the visit. Within these facilities, we interviewed a total of 13 (n=13) staff members. Data collection and semi-structured interviews occurred at two prison facilities and two advocacy centers. Three researchers conducted cross-case analyses and applied triangulation methods to establish a clear chain of evidence documented through step-by-step processes: audit trails; flexible and parallel data analysis during data collection, and first- and second-order coding processes. Findings from this study indicate that prison staff perceives their roles during the visiting processes as an evolution from traditional corrections-based punitive practices (i.e. policing) to a visiting program capable of accommodating three goals: low-stress family visits, inmate conformance, and reduced recidivism. This study adds to the literature on detailing how prison staff dichotomous roles were interpreted as balancing tensions between institutional controls and minimizing traumatic experiences for visiting families through prison-based interventions.
Keywords
Family Systems and Prison Staff, Family Prison Visits, Prison Staff Roles, Prison Staff, Family Engagement, Prison Visits, Multiple Case Study, United Kingdom Prison Visiting Process
To cite this article
Avon Hart-Johnson, Geoffrey Johnson, Prison Staff and Family Visits: United Kingdom Case Study, Humanities and Social Sciences. Vol. 8, No. 2, 2020, pp. 63-72. doi: 10.11648/j.hss.20200802.13
Copyright
Copyright © 2020 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
[1]
Blagden, N.; Winder, B. & Hames, C. (2016). "They treat us like human beings"—Experiencing a therapeutic sex offender prison: Impact on prisoners and staff and implications for treatment. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 60 (4), 371-396.
[2]
Drake, D., Woodall, J. (2012). The significance of “the visit” in an English category B prison: Views from prisoners, prisoners’ families and prison staff. Community Work and Family, 15, 29-47.
[3]
Boudin C Stutz T Littman A 2013 A. Prison Visitation Policies: A Fifty-State Survey. Boudin, C.; Stutz, T. & Littman, A. (2013). Prison visitation policies: A fifty-state survey. Yale Policy Review, 32 (1), 149-189. 201609100515031885050297.
[4]
Bosworth, M., Parmar, A., & Vázquez, Y. (Eds.). (2018). Race, criminal justice, and migration control: Enforcing the boundaries of belonging. Oxford University Press.
[5]
Arditti, J. (2016). A family stress-proximal process model for understanding the effects of parental incarceration on children and their families. Couples and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 5 (2), 65-88.
[6]
Brutus, Liz (2011). Prisoners' families: The value of family support work. Families Outside, www.familiesoutside.org.uk [Accessed: Month Day, Year].
[7]
Dixey, Rachel & Woodall, James (2012). The significance of "the visit" in an English category B prison: Views from prisoners, prisoners' families and prison staff. Community Work and Family, 15, 29-47.
[8]
Ismail, N., & De Viggiani, N. (2018). Should we use a direct regulation to implement the Healthy Prisons Agenda in England? A qualitative study among prison key policy makers. Journal of Public Health, 40 (3), 598-605.
[9]
Steiner, B., & Wooldredge, J. (2018). Prison officer legitimacy, their exercise of power, and inmate rule breaking. Criminology, 56 (4), 750-779.
[10]
De Claire, K., & Dixon, L. (2017). The effects of prison visits from family members on prisoners’ well-being, prison rule breaking, and recidivism: A review of research since 1991. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 18 (2), 185-199.
[11]
Hayes, D., Butler, M., Devaney, J., & Percy, A. (2018). Allowing imprisoned fathers to parent: Maximising the potential benefits of prison-based parenting programmes. Child Care in Practice, 24 (2), 181-197.
[12]
Burford, Gale (2017). Family group conferencing: New directions in community-centered child and family practice. New York, NY: Routledge.
[13]
Crew, Ben; Liebling, Alison & Hulley, S. (2015). Staff-prisoner relationships, staff professionalism, and the use of authority in public- and private sector prisons. Law & Social Inquiry, 40 (1), 309-344.
[14]
Hulley, S., Crewe, B., & Wright, S. (2016). Re-examining the problems of long-term imprisonment. British Journal of Criminology, 56 (4), 769-792.
[15]
Strang, Heather. & Braithwaite, John. (2017). Restorative Justice: Philosophy to practice. New York: NY: Ashgate Publishing.
[16]
Brooke, J., & Jackson, D. (2019). An exploration of the support provided by prison staff, education, health and social care professionals, and prisoners for prisoners with dementia. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 30 (5), 807-823.
[17]
Kaakinen, J. R., Coehlo, D. P., Steele, R., & Robinson, M. (2018). Family health care nursing: Theory, practice, and research. FA Davis.
[18]
Bowen M 1978 Family therapy in clinical practice. Bowen, M. (1978). Family therapy in clinical practice. New Skipton, NY: Aronson.
[19]
Foster, R. (2017). Exploring ‘betwixt and between ‘in a prison visitors’ centre and beyond. In Carceral Spatiality (pp. 169-198). Palgrave Macmillan, London.
[20]
Souryal, S. (2009). Deterring corruption by prison personnel. The Prison Journal, 89 (1), 21-45. doi. 10.1177/0032885508329979Sour.
[21]
Cochran, J. C.; Mears, Daniel P.; Bales, W. D. & Stewart, E. A. (2013). Does inmate behavior affect post-release offending? Investigating the misconduct-recidivism relationship among youth and adults. Justice Quarterly, 53 (2), 220-254.
[22]
Sudom, K., Dursun, S., Flemming, S. (2006). PERSTEMPO in the Canadian Forces: The Role of Coping and Cohesion in the Relationship between Job Stress and Morale. Retrieved from http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a472680.pdf.
[23]
Brunton-Smith, I. & McCarthy, D. J. (2017). The effects of prisoner attachment to family on re-entry outcomes: A longitudinal assessment. The British Journal of Criminology, 57 (2), 463-482.
[24]
Woodall, J., & Kinsella, K. (2018). Striving for a “good” family visit: The facilitative role of a prison visitors’ centre. Journal of Criminal Psychology.
[25]
Yin R 2009 Case study research: Design and methodsYin, Robert, K. (2009). Case study research: Design and methods (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
[26]
Ponelis, S. (2015). Using interpretive qualitative case studies for exploratory research in doctoral studies: A case of information systems research in small and medium enterprises. International Journal of Doctoral Studies. 10 (2015), 534-550.
[27]
Leitch, C. M., Hill, F. M., & Harrison, R. T. (2010). The philosophy and practice of interpretivist research in entrepreneurship: Quality, validation, and trust. Organizational Research Methods, 13 (1), 67-84.
[28]
Runeson, P., & Host, M. (2009). Guidelines for conducting and reporting case study research in software engineering. Empirical Software Engineering. 14 (1), 131-164. doi: 10.1007/s10664-008-9102-8.
[29]
Clancy, A., & M., M. (2017). Prisoners and their children: An innovative model of ‘whole family’support. European Journal of Probation, 9 (3), 210-230.
[30]
Hart-Johnson, A., Johnson, G., & Tate, M. (2018). Prison staff who shape child and family visits: United Kingdom multiple case study. In Gordon, L. (Ed), Contemporary Research and Analysis on the Children of Prisoners: Invisible Children. pp 241-265. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
[31]
Arditti, J. & Jyoti S. (2015). Parental incarceration and child trauma symptoms in single caregiver homes. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24 (3), 551-561.
[32]
Lerman, A. E. & Page, J. (2012). The state of the job: An embedded work role perspective on prison officer attitudes. Punishment & Society. 14 (5), 503-529. doi: 10.1177/1462474512464135.
[33]
Bosworth, M. (2017). Engendering resistance: Agency and power in women's prisons. New York, NY: Routledge.
[34]
HM Prison & Probation. (2019). HMPPS business strategy: Shaping our future. Retrieved from: http://www.govwire.co.uk/news/national-probation-service/guidance-hmpps-business-strategy-shaping-our-future-34635.
[35]
Shannon, S., & Page, J.(2014). Bureaucrats on the cell block: Prison officer's perception of work environment and attitudes towards prisoners. Social Services Review, 88 (4), 630-657. doi: https://doi.org/101086/678448.
[36]
Day, M., Hewson, A., & Spiropoulos, C. (2015). Strangeways 25 Years On. London: Prison Reform.
[37]
Prison Reform Trust. (1991). The Woolf report: A summary of the main findings and the recommendations of the inquiry into prison disturbances. Retrieved from www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk/Portals/0/Documents/Woolf%20report.pdf.
[38]
UNICEF (n. d.) United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Retrieved from https://www.unicef.org/rightsite/237.htm.
[39]
United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner. (1990). Universal periodic review — United Kingdom. Retrieved from https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx.
[40]
Goffman, E. (1961). On the characteristics of total institutions. In Symposium on preventive and social psychiatry (pp. 43-84). Washington, DC: Walter Reed Army Medical Centre.
[41]
Arditti, J. (2004). Families and incarceration: An ecological approach, http://www.convictcriminology.org/pdf/arditti/e-FamiliesIncarceration.pdf [Accessed: March 30, 2018].
[42]
Hart-Johnson, A., Benoliel, & B., Johnson, G. (2018). Photographic Data as Content for Analysis in Qualitative Research. In Garris, B. & Waters, A. Eds), Conference Proceedings 2018 NOHS National Conference Philadelphia, PA. pp 79-82. National Organization of Human Services.
ADDRESS
Science Publishing Group
1 Rockefeller Plaza,
10th and 11th Floors,
New York, NY 10020
U.S.A.
Tel: (001)347-983-5186