Persistent short-term imprisonment: belonging as a lens to understand its shifting meanings over the life course

Schinkel, M. and Lives Sentenced Participants, . (2021) Persistent short-term imprisonment: belonging as a lens to understand its shifting meanings over the life course. Incarceration, 2(1), pp. 1-20. (doi: 10.1177/2632666321989018)

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This article takes a life-course perspective to the meaning of persistent short-term imprisonment and introduces the significance of ‘penal careers’. Examining a total of 62 interviews with men and women in Scotland with long careers of (progression through) criminal punishment, it uses to the concept of belonging as a lens to interpret their experiences. While some participants already felt early on in their career that they belonged in prison because of their shared characteristics with other prisoners, the repetition of imprisonment meant that they increasingly felt displaced from life outside and saw life in prison as ‘easier’ and ‘safer’. Nevertheless, looking back on their many sentences, they felt their cumulative meaning was ‘a waste of life’. The article concludes by considering steps towards tackling the conditions that create this sense of belonging in a place of punishment.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Schinkel, Dr Marguerite
Authors: Schinkel, M., and Lives Sentenced Participants, .
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Incarceration
ISSN (Online):2632-6663
Published Online:19 March 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Author
First Published:First published in Incarceration 2(1):1-20
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons Licence

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
168709Lives sentenced: the punishment careers of persistent offendersFergus McNeillEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/K009389/1S&PS - Social Centre for Criminal Justice Research