Narrative Beyond Prison Gates

  title={Narrative Beyond Prison Gates},
  author={Elizabeth Yardley and David B. Wilson and Diane Kemp and Michael Brookes},
  journal={International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology},
  pages={159 - 179}
This article reports on qualitative research with Alan, a former resident of the therapeutic communities at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) Grendon, England, exploring narrative identity beyond therapy. The study emphasises the complexity inherent in the five identities on which Alan draws—the Achiever, the Liminal Man, the Lucky Man, the Puppet, and the Wise Man. We suggest that narrative identities are adapted and reconstructed as they are taken outside of the therapeutic community into a less… 

Figures from this paper

Faith-Based Intervention: Prison, Prayer, and Perseverance

This qualitative article explores the impact of faith-based interventions through the lens of a self-identified practicing Christian: Joanna. For over a decade, Joanna has visited several prisons in

Why should criminology care about literary fiction? Literature, life narratives and telling untellable stories

There is still-growing interest in narrative in the context of offender rehabilitation. Recent moves towards a ‘narrative criminology’ have referenced literary theory and the tools of literary

Narrative Criminology as Critical Criminology

Narrative criminology is a theoretical paradigm rooted in a view of stories as influencing harmful actions and arrangements. Narrative criminologists explore the storied bases of a variety of harms

Narrative Theory Applied to the Autobiographies of Three Life-Course Offenders

The written autobiographical accounts of three life-course offenders, which were published following extended life-course offending, were analyzed using a theory-led thematic analysis. The

More than Meals: A Narrative Criminological Analysis of Inmate‐Authored Cookbooks

Cookbooks are cultural artifacts, providing glimpses into the ways in which a society views itself. Cookbooks of incarcerated individuals are notably absent from the landscape of scholarly work,

Black men, religiosity and desistance: exploring Islam, desistance and identity

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore the experiences of Ibrahim, an ex-offender who has embraced Islam. Ibrahim professes Islam to be the influential element to his desistance

The past, present, and future of narrative criminology: A review and an invitation

As J.W. Ironmonger’s 2012 novel The Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder opens, the protagonist Max is lying face up, dead, on his own front room dining table. On his 21st birthday, Max decided to lock

Social network use and youth well-being: a study in India

The youth in present day India is the first generation to grow up within a world of pervasive technology. While several writers applaud these social network sites (SNSs) for transforming the social

Gangs, music and the mediatisation of crime: expressions, violations and validations

Purpose The way in which criminologists understand, contextualise and theorise around the mediatised world has raised some critical new questions. The purpose of this paper is to report on

The Archived Criminal: Mandatory Prisoner Autobiography in China



‘I am the person now I was always meant to be’: Identity reconstruction and narrative reframing in therapeutic community prisons

Drawing upon semi-ethnographic research, this article explores desistance in process among serious offenders residing in democratic therapeutic communities. It is argued that offender rehabilitation

Grendon: A Study of a Therapeutic Prison

Based upon interviews with prisoners andprison staff, this new study of a 'model' prison will be of interest to criminologists, penologists and prison staff everywhere.

Getting on top through mass murder: Narrative, metaphor, and violence

This paper makes a case for narrative criminology by describing the storied nature of mass murder by Jim David Adkisson in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA. Drawing on interviews with and writings by David,

The Impact of Grendon on Changing Lives: Prisoner Perspectives

This article brings together published and unpublished material that documents prisoners' experiences of Grendon in their words. This covers the period from shortly after Grendon opened in 1962 to

The narratives of offenders

Although criminologists have long used the offender's own story to shed light on crime and its possible causes, they have not plumbed its potential as an explanatory variable. This article considers

Offender Rehabilitation and Therapeutic Communities: Enabling Change the TC way

Offender rehabilitation has become increasingly and almost exclusively associated with structured cognitive-behavioural programmes. For fifty years, however, a small number of English prisons have

Offenders’ Crime Narratives as Revealed by the Narrative Roles Questionnaire

  • Donna YoungsD. Canter
  • Sociology, Psychology
    International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology
  • 2013
This study explores how the roles offenders see themselves as playing during an offence encapsulate their underlying crime narratives and thus provide the basis for a quantitative methodology for differentiating the narrative themes that characterise specific crime events.

How HMP Grendon ‘Works’ in the Words of Those Undergoing Therapy

Prisoner autobiographies are used to construct an understanding of how therapy at HMP Grendon ‘works’, grounded in Genders and Player's ‘therapeutic career model’. The use of these sources – or

The Life Sentence: Using a Narrative Approach in Group Psychotherapy with Offenders

In this article, I will discuss a narrative approach to psychodynamic group work with offenders. Drawing on my experience of running groups for offenders in a high secure psychiatric hospital, I will

Gangster, victim or both? The interdiscursive construction of sameness and difference in self-presentations.

The paper conceptualizes two contradictory discourses used by ethnic minority drug dealers in a street drug market in Oslo, Norway, and suggests that similar interdiscursivity may have been sacrificed in previous research to produce more coherent theoretical frameworks.