Families - inside prison and out: young people's experiences of having a family member in prison

Deacon, Kirsty Evonne (2019) Families - inside prison and out: young people's experiences of having a family member in prison. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b3368867


Despite the increased focus on families of prisoners within research, policy and practice, there has been a lack of recognition of the distinct experiences of young people affected by familial imprisonment. More specifically, there has also been a failure to consider experiences of sibling imprisonment. This thesis addresses both of these gaps in knowledge. It draws on qualitative data from two groups of participants: the first were young people from KIN, a project which creatively explores experiences of familial imprisonment; the second were a group resident within a Young Offenders Institution (YOI). Both were interviewed about their experiences of a family member’s imprisonment, though their contrasting current situations created differences within the research process which are reflected upon in a specific ‘methodology as finding’ chapter.

In respect of the substantive topic of familial imprisonment, I challenge the dominant narrative within academic literature and policy of a family member’s imprisonment only being a disruptive force (one that creates distance) in relationships. Instead, narratives of closeness also emerged. These were mainly from the experiences of those within the YOI. The inclusion of this group of participants, along with an exploration of their inter / intra-prison relationships, represents a novel contribution to familial imprisonment literature. While the existing literature tends to assume an over-simplified binary between ‘prisoners’ family member’ and ‘prisoner’, this thesis recognises that these terms are not exclusive; it is possible to hold both of these identities simultaneously.

As well as questioning the assumption of the disruptiveness of imprisonment, where it does occur this thesis also challenges the idea that imprisonment is the only, or even the main, disruptive force within the lives of the young people it affects. While partly reinforcing and contributing to literature which says this disruption occurs and needs to be dealt with, this thesis also argues for the need to re-situate this experience within the wider set of disruptions experienced by some young people in their lives. I explore the range of issues a young person may be dealing with in their day-to-day lives and the various disadvantages they can experience. Therefore, this challenges the idea that prison is the only place in which this group’s problems can be both located and resolved.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Family, young people, children, prison, imprisonment, prisoners' families, inter-prison relationships, intra-prison relationships.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Funder's Name: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Supervisor's Name: McNeill, Prof. Fergus and Armstrong, Prof. Sarah
Date of Award: 2019
Depositing User: Dr Kirsty Deacon
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-75052
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2019 09:20
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2019 12:20
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.75052
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/75052

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