Breaking the hegemony of the prison : an analysis of the detention centre system
The purpose of this study is to develop a theoretically viable and empirically detailed analysis of the emergence of the Detention Centre in the young offender sector of the English penal system. In doing so, it is intended to eradicate the hiatus created by either an absence of research, or by research which has been unable or unconcerned for epistemological reasons to address the Detention Centre's problematic emergence in English penal history - both in Its 'pre-legislative' stage, and in its period of development ,from a minority to a majority form of disposal, and through to its threatened demise in the mid-1970's. The central methodological concern of this study is to situate the analysis within the parameters of what has been termed the breaking of the hegemony of the prison for young offenders, and informed by a contingent and complementary analysis of the history of socio-political, economic and cultural developments throughout the period, from the late nineteenth century to the mid-1970's. Concomitant upon this has been an analysis of the manner in which the British state has struggled to maintain the balance between consent and coercion in the interests of a ruling class hegemony. The study falls into three main sections: the first section deals with the gradual emergence of the hegemony of the prison in the late eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries, situating within this the creation of a specifically young offender sector. The second section addresses itself to the history of the maintenance and development of this sector, and, within this, the struggle of the 'short-term movement' in the young offender disposal system. The final section offers an analysis of the emergence of the Detention Centre in its post-legislative stage, examining the history of its first two, contrasting, decades, and leading to the apparent demise by the mid-1970's. Finally, it is necessary to take cogaisance of the importance of the recourse to an analysis at the concrete level of a large amount of empirical data available, much of it for the first time, through the auspices of the Public Records Office. These documents have played no small a part in the analysis with which the middle section of this study is concerned.