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Title: Transition and adaptation to prison life : a study of young adults aged 18 to 21
Author: Harvey, J.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2004
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This research examines the transition and adaptation of young adults, aged 18 to 21, to life in prison. This age group has been neglected somewhat within prison policy and research. In this research I focus on the role of social support, locus of control trust, and safety and explore how they relate to the adaptation process. I carried out this research in one custodial setting, HM YOI Feltham, a remand centre in London, England and took an embedded multi-method approach using semi-structured interviews, observations, questionnaires and social network analysis. As an overall orienting framework I use Layder’s (1998) adaptive theory approach, using both existing theory and theory that emerges from data collection and analysis. I set out to address four main research concerns. First, I examine how prisoners adapt practically, socially and psychologically to their first month in prison. This early entry period has been recognised as a heightened period of vulnerability to suicide. I focus on the transition from the outside world to the prison and follow up a sample of prisoners through their first month in custody. Secondly, I aim to understand supportive transactions between staff and prisoners. This aspect of the study examines what constitutes a supportive transaction and what facilitate and inhibit prisoners’ willingness to enter such transitions. The third aim of the research is to examine peer social networks in prison and to consider whether these connections can be supportive, and if so, to what extent they can aid the process of adaptation. Finally, I examine self-harm among young adult prisoners and set out to understand how their experience differs from those who have not harmed themselves. Again the concepts of locus of control, social support, trust, and safety will be considered. Through focusing on maladaptation in prison this final component of the research further elucidates the process of adaptation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available