Half in/half out: exploring the experiences of the families of prisoners in a Scottish prison visitors' centre

Foster, Rebecca Gillian (2017) Half in/half out: exploring the experiences of the families of prisoners in a Scottish prison visitors' centre. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b3269220


The research upon which this thesis is based aims to build on a rich and growing body of work about how imprisonment affects, is practiced by, and structures families with a loved one in prison. It aims to do this by contributing to knowledge on the lived experiences of prison visiting for the families of prisoners, who were until recently largely overlooked in prisons scholarship. In turn, this thesis aims to shed light on families’ overall experience of the imprisonment of a loved one(s).

The research underpinning this thesis involved eliciting the experiences of families, through carrying out ethnographic observation and qualitative interviews in a unique field-site, the Visitors’ Centre at HMP Edinburgh, over a nine-month period (during 2014-2015). This thesis builds on the literature that documents the many negative effects of imprisonment for the families of those confined, particularly through its exploration of how imprisonment alters the space and time of families. This thesis notes that these myriad negative impacts require considered attention and action.

Yet, this thesis also makes a key and critical argument that the experience of imprisonment for many families should be considered within the broader context of their lives. These families’ lives are often characterised by not only imprisonment(s), but by structural disadvantage, and by the presence and experience of varied and intrusive state interventions. This thesis argues that each of these too are often experienced as imprisoning, and in turn questions whether a focus exclusively on the pains specific to familial imprisonment- in scholarship, policy, and practice- risks encouraging a continuing focus on the prison as both the only cause of, and main site for finding solutions, to family difficulties.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Prison, imprisonment, prisoners' families, prison visiting, prison visitors' centre.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Funder's Name: Dawes Trust (DAWESTR)
Supervisor's Name: Armstrong, Dr. Sarah and Burman, Professor Michele
Date of Award: 2017
Depositing User: Ms Rebecca G Foster
Unique ID: glathesis:2017-8229
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2017 15:50
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2017 12:11
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/8229

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