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Adjustment to short-term imprisonment under low prison staffing

O'Connor, Sarah, Bezeczky, Zoe, Moriarty, Yvonne ORCID:, Kalebic, Natasha and Taylor, Pamela J. ORCID: 2020. Adjustment to short-term imprisonment under low prison staffing. BJPsych Bulletin 44 (4) , pp. 139-144. 10.1192/bjb.2020.2

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Aims and method To understand experience of early imprisonment in one prison under low staffing levels. A researcher, independent of the prison, interviewed each prisoner soon after reception and 3–4 weeks later. The first question of the second interview was: ‘I’d like to start by asking you about your experience of the last 3–4 weeks in prison'. Data are verbatim answers to this. Narratives were brief, so responses from all 130 participants were analysed, using grounded theory methods. Results The core experience was of ‘routine’ – characterised by repetitive acts of daily living and basic work, and little reference to life outside prison – generally resolved passively, towards boredom and ‘entrapment’. Clinical implications This ‘routine’ seems akin to the ‘institutionalism’ described in the end days of the 1960s’ mental hospitals. In an earlier study of similar men at a similar stage of imprisonment, under higher staff:prisoner ratios, experience was initially more distressing, but resolved actively and positively, suggesting that staff loss may have affected rehabilitative climate.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Centre for Trials Research (CNTRR)
Publisher: Royal College of Psychiatrists: BJPsych Bulletin
ISSN: 2056-4708
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 March 2020
Date of Acceptance: 18 December 2019
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 16:43

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