Making Good in Unpromising Places: the Development and Cultivation of Redemption Scripts Among Long-Term Prisoners

Generally regarded as an institution which frustrates rather than enables the process of desisting from crime, the potential for prisoners to find redemption in prison seems bleak. Despite unpromising conditions within the prison, we find strong evidence of reform and a desire to make amends among a...

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Published in:International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology
Main Author: Bullock, Karen (Author)
Contributors: McCarthy, Daniel P. (Author); Bunce, Annie
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
Published: 2019
In:International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology
Year: 2019, Volume: 63, Issue: 3, Pages: 406-423
Online Access: Volltext (Resolving-System)
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Summary:Generally regarded as an institution which frustrates rather than enables the process of desisting from crime, the potential for prisoners to find redemption in prison seems bleak. Despite unpromising conditions within the prison, we find strong evidence of reform and a desire to make amends among a cohort of long-term prisoners. While these prisoners were all participating in a rehabilitation program, their narratives of reform were highly individualized and situated in the context of their various experiences of long sentences. However, we report that these individualized accounts of reform were strengthened and facilitated in similar ways through interactions established via their program participation. Specifically, the program was experienced as fulfilling, empowering, and therapeutic. This functioned to reinforce participants' sense of control, or self-mastery, increased their self-esteem, and instilled hope and confidence that an alternative moral future may be achievable. Implications for supporting desistance in the prison are discussed.
ISSN:1552-6933
DOI:10.1177/0306624X18800882