‘One of us’: reframed labels, compassion and hope in voluntary prison work with ex-servicemen

Katie Salt, Zetta Kougiali

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Abstract

Despite the growing body of literature on Prison Officers and therapeutic practitioners within correctional facilities, comparatively little research exists into prison volunteers. Using semi-structured interviews with caseworkers (n = 5), analyzed via Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, this study explores the experience of being a Prison In-Reach Caseworker, supporting the male ex-Armed Forces population in Greater London prisons. Through identifying three superordinate themes of the inherent moral values of the shared past, compassion and 'in' versus 'out' of the prison system, the study concludes that the caseworkers, working outside the boundaries of the correctional system, reject the label of 'criminal' and its associated consequences, choosing instead to attribute value and dignity to the prisoners, both as ex-Armed Forces personnel, and as human beings. The findings offer an insight into the consequences of positive labelling for perspectives of redemption and desistance and suggest the need for further investigation into the experiences and impact of prison volunteers working with different populations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2022

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