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Title: Challenging occupational norms : an ethnographic study of female prison officers in a women's prison
Author: Wood, A.
Awarding Body: University of Salford
Current Institution: University of Salford
Date of Award: 2016
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Female prison officers have an important role to play in the lives of the imprisoned women they are charged with ‘looking after’. This thesis draws upon 64 days of research, over 35 weeks, over a 12-month period to produce a unique ethnographic study of female frontline officers responsible for female prisoners in a public sector prison in England. This thesis offers a snapshot of prison life during a particularly tumultuous period in contemporary British penology, whilst providing an important counter-narrative to previous gendered studies of prison occupational culture. Staff-prisoner relationships are central to the running of prisons (Sparks et al, 1996) and this thesis argues these relationships are becoming less robust due to the lack of face-to-face contact, reducing personal interactions and ultimately the quality of the prison regime. This thesis also argues mental illness is a key challenge for the prison officers, and will highlight the officer’s knowledge of this issue is limited due to a lack of sufficient training being available. This thesis will also address the impact of the occupation on female officers, and how personal issues such as childbirth can create unique emotional burdens for some of the female officers. Relatedly, this thesis argues prison is an emotional milieu where the officers are forced to manage their emotions under pressure, and how the mis-management of these emotions can lead to the job spilling-over into the private lives of the prison officers. Finally, this thesis will provide critical engagement with the theoretical aspects of prison occupational culture; spill-over and contamination, and the sociology of emotions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Salford
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available