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Serving time: An ethnographic study of the Clink restaurant, Cardiff

Graham, Anna 2020. Serving time: An ethnographic study of the Clink restaurant, Cardiff. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

This thesis reports on an ethnography of The Clink restaurant in Cardiff, Wales. The Clink is no ordinary restaurant; it is a rehabilitative programme for serving prisoners. Based on a year’s observation of participants and interviews, the thesis contributes to the ethnographic body of writing found within criminology and, in particular, adds to the few qualitative studies investigating employment programmes for prisoners. With limited research conducted on The Clink site, the thesis provides a close observational account of what life is actually like for individuals undertaking an innovative work-based rehabilitative programme. Initially, the thesis moves the reader to the start of The Clink process by revealing the reasons why individuals chose to join the programme, including motivations that could be linked to any prison job and reasons that were unique to The Clink programme. In what follows, I explore the realities of restaurant life by touching on issues that any restaurant employee would encounter. In addition, the thesis shows that participants had to manage a further layer of difficulties. I continue by drawing on a consideration of the wider and official Clink agenda, showing that The Clink achieves most of its aims and moves beyond them, but also that the formal version of The Clink needs nuance. The thesis argues that whilst The Clink does break down some of the barriers to successful resettlement and does prepare participants for release, its process is not an easy one. The unique quasi-open conditions create intentional and unintentional obstacles for those passing through. Those on the programme had to deal with the challenge of working in one of the top restaurants in Cardiff, whilst still serving their time within the ‘invisible walls’. These challenges included the location of the restaurant, pains of imprisonment and ‘freedom’, penal power operating within The Clink and having to manage their identity during interactions with the public. As a result, those on the programme found it difficult (and perhaps were not supposed to) forget that they were still serving their time. They had to negotiate constantly between being outside, whilst still inside. Yet, these obstacles extend beyond The Clink. The study concludes by arguing that, as it stands, The Clink prepares individuals for life in the community as an ‘ex-offender’.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 7 December 2020
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2021 01:39
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/136835

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