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Title: Peer support and seeking help in prison : a study of the Listener scheme in four prisons in England
Author: Jaffe, Michelle
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 6244
Awarding Body: Keele University
Current Institution: Keele University
Date of Award: 2012
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Samaritans volunteers have been visiting prisons since 1991 to select, train and support prisoners to provide confidential emotional support to other prisoners. Despite its existence for approximately two decades, the Listener scheme has received very little research attention other than a few scattered examples of in-house or small scale reviews (for example Davies, 1994; Richman, 2004; Snow & Biggar, 2006; The Samaritans, 2001a; 2001b). This paucity is also reflected in the current lack of knowledge about peer mentoring and support more widely, despite the significant government attention it has received. This thesis explores and analyses the operation of the Listener peer support scheme in four prisons in England. It investigates how prisoners used (or did not use) Listener support in their patterns of coping and helpseeking in prison, how the Listener scheme was perceived and used by prisoners, Listeners and prison staff, and how Listeners described their experiences of conducting their voluntary work in prison. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were adopted, including a survey of prisoners (n=331), and interviews with prisoners (n=14), Listeners (n=16), and prison staff (n=12). This thesis contends that the prison environment shapes and influences help-seeking by prisoners and the operation of peer support schemes in important ways. It is asserted that helpseeking by prisoners is ‘strategic’, that there is a need to recognise the importance of the factors that drive help-seeking in prison, and the impact this has on the spectrum of helpseeking activity that prisoners exhibit. Furthermore, this thesis examines the dilemmas and contradictions that arise, when prisoners attempt to engage as citizens by volunteering and helping their peers, with whom they share the same pains of imprisonment and experience of subordination.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HV1 Criminology