Negotiating barriers: prisoner and staff perspectives on mental wellbeing in the open prison setting

DANKS, Kara and BRADLEY, Alexandria (2018). Negotiating barriers: prisoner and staff perspectives on mental wellbeing in the open prison setting. Journal of Criminal Psychology, 8 (1), 3-19.

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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore the perspectives of prisoners and prison staff in relation to mental wellbeing and the negotiation of barriers to accessing and providing support. This small-scale study includes the experiences of 11 prison staff and 9 prisoners within a Category D male prison. Design/methodology/approach A focus group was conducted with the prisoners and interviews with prison staff. Thematic analysis identified three core themes: “context enabling factors”, “barriers to accessing support for mental wellbeing” and “peer support roles”. Findings Prisoners conveyed a reluctance in reporting mental health issues due to the fear of being transferred to closed conditions. All staff indicated the benefits of peer support roles. Research limitations/implications Further research is required on a wider scale, as it is acknowledged that the findings of this study are from one prison and may not apply to other settings. Although there are barriers that may impact the reporting of mental wellbeing issues, there may be small relational steps that can be taken to address these. Originality/value Few studies exist that explore the nuances and barriers within open prisons, perhaps due to the overwhelming need within closed conditions. A context-specific approach considering early prevention strategies to support a safer prison system and successful rehabilitation is explored. The combination of prisoner and staff experiences is of value to both academia and policymakers.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Law Research Group
Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities > Department of Law and Criminology
Identification Number:
Page Range: 3-19
Depositing User: Alexandria Bradley
Date Deposited: 31 May 2018 13:48
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2021 23:36

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