Staff culture, use of authority and prisoner quality of life in public and private sector prisons

  title={Staff culture, use of authority and prisoner quality of life in public and private sector prisons},
  author={Ben Crewe and Alison Liebling and Susie Hulley},
  journal={Australian \& New Zealand Journal of Criminology},
  pages={115 - 94}
Drawing on data collected in five private sector and two public sector prisons, this article highlights the complex relationship between prison staff culture and prisoner quality of life. Specifically, it explores the link between the attitudes of prison staff and their behaviour, particularly in terms of their use of authority, and seeks to explain the somewhat paradoxical finding that those prisons rated most positively by prisoners were those in which staff were least positive about their… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

Staff‐Prisoner Relationships, Staff Professionalism, and the Use of Authority in Public‐ and Private‐Sector Prisons
Prison privatization has generally been associated with developments in neoliberal punishment. However, relatively little is known about the specific impact of privatization on the daily life of
Respect in prisons: Prisoners’ experiences of respect in public and private sector prisons
Interpretations of ‘respect’ in prison have tended to be narrow, focusing on courteous and considerate staff–prisoner relationships. In a recent study, we found that respect was defined by prisoners
Punish or Reform? Predicting Prison Staff Punitiveness
Public views regarding the punishment of offenders have been extensively examined. Yet, the opinions of prison staff have been relatively less well documented, despite the clear implications of such
Voluntary Work in Prisons: Providing Services in the Penal Environment
The role of voluntary sector organisations (VSOs) is well established and rapidly developing, both in prison settings specifically and in criminal justice more broadly. In this chapter we examine the
A Multilevel Analysis of the Relationship Between Cell Sharing, Staff–Prisoner Relationships, and Prisoners’ Perceptions of Prison Quality
Analysis of results from a Dutch prisoner survey shows that cell sharing is associated with lower perceived prison quality, which is partially mediated by reduced quality of staff–prisoner relationships.
The security mindset: Corrections officer workplace culture in late mass incarceration
Prison officers’ behavior is one of the most consequential features of the modern prison. In this article, we introduce an organizational culture conceptual framework and build on previous prison
Prisoner and staff perceptions of procedural justice in English and Welsh prisons
This research was conducted to develop measures of prisoners’ and staff members’ procedural justice perceptions, and to explore the variation and importance of these perceptions in English and Welsh
Birmingham Prison: the transition from public to private sector and it's impact on staff and prisoner quality of life - a three year study
The NOMS Research and Evaluation Team supports effective policy development and operational delivery within the National Offender Management Service and Ministry of Justice by conducting and
Moral performance, inhuman and degrading treatment and prison pain
Empirical research on the moral quality of life in prison suggests that some prisons are more survivable than others. Prisoners describe stark differences in the moral and emotional climates of


Distinctions and distinctiveness in the work of prison officers: Legitimacy and authority revisited
The purpose of this paper is to provide a framework for thinking about the work of prison officers. It is a well-known maxim that relationships are ‘at the heart’ of prison life (Home Office, 1984).
Prisons and Their Moral Performance: A Study of Values, Quality, and Prison Life
PART 1: INTRODUCTION: PENAL VALUES AND PRISON EVALUATION 1. The Late Modern Prison and The Question of Values 2. The Measurement and Evaluation of Prison Regimes 3. Identifying 'What Matters' in
Prisons and the problem of order
This book presents a substantial new statement on the character of social life in confinement. Drawing upon extensive fieldwork in two contrasting English maximum security prisons, the authors
Well Kept: Comparing Quality of Confinement in Private and Public Prisons
While all three prisons are regarded as having been high in quality, the private prison outperformed its governmental counterparts on nearly every dimension.
‘It was absolute hell’: Inside the private prison
As part of a broader current of critique of the economic and political dynamics of prison privatisation — a critique that initially emanated from the USA — this paper focuses on Scotland and on
Staff-to-Inmates Relations in a Total Institution: A Model of Five Modes of Association
The findings presented in the following paper suggest that contrary to Goffman's description of staff-inmate relations in total institutions, the social relations between prison staff members and
Privatizing Correctional Institutions
With more than one million people behind bars, the United States imprisons a larger share of its population than any other industrialized nation. This has precipitated a serious overcrowding problem
Independently verified reductionism: Prison privatization in Scotland
The Scottish Parliament recently considered proposals, which, if implemented, would lead to a considerable expansion of prison privatization. Both the Scottish Prison Service and the Scottish
Researchers have long noted the link between police culture and coercion. To date, however, there have been no empirical studies of this relationship. Using data collected as part of a systematic
The Illusion of Structure: A Critique of the Classical Model of Organization and the Discretionary Power of Correctional Officers
This article provides a substantive critique of the classical model of organization used by most prisons. The classical model is viewed as inconsistent with both the inherent discretionary power of