Persistent punishment: user views of short prison sentences

Armstrong, S. and Weaver, E. (2013) Persistent punishment: user views of short prison sentences. Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 52(3), pp. 285-305. (doi: 10.1111/hojo.12015)

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Semi-structured interviews were conducted of 22 prisoners to gather information about the characteristic features of short prison sentences. Themes raised in comments included: the frequency and quality of sentences, addiction, family, and penal legitimacy. Most of the participants had extensive experience of prison, and the effects of this played out across sentences and years, accumulating and amplifying impacts. And, despite expressions of guilt and remorse, most participants saw their sentence as unjust, and mainly a reaction to offending history. We conclude by suggesting the need for research to shift focus from evaluating individual penal interventions towards more holistic and narrative accounts that cut across sentences.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The definitive version is available at
Keywords:Punishment, legitimacy, user voice, prison, short sentences
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Armstrong, Professor Sarah
Authors: Armstrong, S., and Weaver, E.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Research Group:Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research
Journal Name:Howard Journal of Criminal Justice
Publisher:Blackwell Publishing
ISSN (Online):1468-2311
Published Online:01 May 2013
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 The Authors
First Published:First published in Howard Journal of Criminal Justice 52(3):285-305
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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