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Keeping it ‘tidy’: Maintaining order in a Welsh local prison

Doubleday, Ruth Bryony 2021. Keeping it ‘tidy’: Maintaining order in a Welsh local prison. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis explores the maintenance of order in the contemporary British prison. The data presented here was collected during an extensive period of fieldwork in HMP Cardiff, a Category B male local prison in South Wales, UK. With the prison remaining steadfast in its position as the cornerstone of modern penality, it is vital that research continues to explore what it is like to be in a prison, what it is like to work in a prison, and how the prison functions on a daily basis. I spent one year conducting qualitative, ethnographic-style research to gain an insight into precisely these questions. This thesis converses with established thinking in the field of prison studies, applying existing conceptualisations of prisoner compliance, prison pains, and forms of prison officer authority to HMP Cardiff specifically. Informed by distinctively deep and long-term immersion in the field, I provide a unique analysis of the mundane rules of prison order and the mutual, if asymmetrical, interdependence of groups residing and working in a closed institution. I evidence that HMP Cardiff is relatively well-ordered, partly due to its retention of highly experienced officers. I then examine the circumstances in which prisoners might be more (or less) likely to comply with prison rules and consider the role that officers play in shaping daily prison life. I then explore the experiences of a particular group of prisoners that occupy a relatively privileged position and which have been neglected in much previous research-theorising – wing workers. I show that demonstrating obedience can significantly decrease the intensity of the modern pains of imprisonment, particularly for these wing workers. I conclude by recognising the permanence of the superordinate officer-subordinate prisoner relationship and suggest that there are certain conditions in which the prison environment is more likely to be humane, legitimate and well-ordered.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 5 January 2022
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2022 12:20

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