Prisons, their `partners', and `resettlement : a study of four male prisons

BIRD, Hayden James (2007). Prisons, their `partners', and `resettlement : a study of four male prisons. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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    Abstract

    This jointly funded Hallam Studentship between Sheffield Hallam University and HM Prison Service Area Office: Yorkshire and Humberside was originally borne out of consultation undertaken to develop a Regional Resettlement Strategy (see Senior, 2002; 2003). Hence, significant moves had been made to improve awareness around, and the services involved in, prisoner `resettlement'. This took place amidst reemerging national interest in aspects of such provision and activities, and their effectiveness in reducing `re-offending' rates. Unlike the Regional Resettlement Strategy, this independent research examines the assumption that `partnerships' enhance the delivery of `resettlement' services within prisons. The thesis takes as its focus a period when prisons and their `partners' were considering, and responding to, emerging central governmental proposals for a National Offender Management Service which resulted from the publication of Patrick Carter's (2003) `Managing Offenders, Reducing Crime: A New Approach'. It makes problematic, and identifies, key features of `partnerships' and shows disparate meanings are attached to the terms `resettlement' and `partnership'. These are influenced by a range of political, organisational, and individual factors.

    Recognising `partnerships' have created, and continue to create, enhancements in the forms of more `client-centred', `holistic' services, exposing prison staff to broader skills/expertise and organisational values, it is acknowledged that these are often accompanied by increasingly complex relationships. These include those between staff within prisons, organisations, and service users' experiences of these. As a result, this thesis brings into question the suitability of existing theories in depicting the `state' and the role(s) of `partnerships'. The Action Research study utilises a basic text response survey, `solicited' prisoner diaries, semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and participant observation to assess the opinions of participants from a range of backgrounds, be they staff members or service users from statutory, private, or Voluntary and Community Sector organisations. It juxtaposes action research with the adoption of a `grounded theory' approach to data collection and analysis. The influences of self perceptions and personal attitudes are accounted for in both shaping, and responding to, the interactions and environments researched.

    Data revealed five key themes and each of these constitutes a chapter. These are, `Perceptual Understanding', `Data Management', `Communication', `Service Provision' and `NOMS'. Within each of these themes lie apparently contrasting issues. However, the analysis reveals that prisons can experience aspects of these paradoxically. Two models of `partnerships' are proposed by drawing on aspects of these paradoxes. These include a hypothetical `worst case scenario' and one constructed from `best practice'. Through appraising the disparate meanings given to `resettlement' and `partnerships' the thesis examines how various actors can make sense of `partnerships', enhance practice, and sustain a `holistic' vision of `resettlement' provision. The `best practice' model illustrates how this is more likely to be achieved, even during times of organisational change.

    Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
    Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
    Depositing User: Hilary Ridgway
    Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2011 13:42
    Last Modified: 22 Feb 2011 13:42
    URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/3207

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