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Sex offenders' lived experiences of institutional life: A case study of a probation hostel

Reeves, Carla (2010) Sex offenders' lived experiences of institutional life: A case study of a probation hostel. PhD thesis, Prifysgol Bangor University.

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Abstract

This thesis reports an exploratory ethnographic study into the daily lived experiences of residents charged or convicted of sexual offences and staff within a single Probation Approved Premises (hostel). The experiences and practice of residents and staff in the hostel are set in the context of work undertaken with sex offenders in the community. The study drew upon Foucauldian concepts of power relationships, Goffman's focus on daily `mundane' interactions and Sykes and Matza's techniques of neutralisations. In this analysis, practice in the community (such as the sex offender register, housing policy, supervision and the hostel) is regarded as part of wider control mechanisms as envisaged by Foucault. The findings are based on participant observation and interviews with hostel staff and residents conducted over two years, coupled with observation of twelve Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Committees (MARAC; over a one year period). In total, observations were conducted in the hostel on 85 occasions; the long time period being utilised to ensure observation of a range of sex offenders from entrance to the hostel to the point of returning to accommodation in the community. In-depth interviews were conducted with 24 residents in the hostel and 17 members of staff. In conjunction, conversations with residents and staff are reported as part of the participant observation work. The main findings are organised into three chapters: Hostel Practice, Hostel Life and The Hostel in Context. Within these, findings are discussed relating to: staff attitudes towards work in the hostel and with sex offenders; residents' attitudes towards aspects of hostel life such as the warning system, rules and moving out of the hostel; the use of space within the hostel; work towards reintegration; group structures and interaction; how residents represent themselves in the hostel, particularly relating to denial; and, finally, how hostel work is sited within a multi-agency structure. The findings are applicable to a wider debate regarding institutions and institutional life, but specifically contribute to knowledge about work with sex offenders, feeding into practice and policy. Alongside this, the methodology and fieldwork techniques contribute to academic and research discussions regarding ethnographic work, practice of conducting such fieldwork and the potential implications for the data collected.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: Degree Thesis
Departments: College of Business, Law, Education and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
Degree Thesis
Date Deposited: 14 May 2015 05:20
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2016 10:54
URI: http://e.bangor.ac.uk/id/eprint/4520
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