Prisons Study Group
Convenor: Andrew Shepherd (University of Manchester)
Contact: andrew.shepherd-2 [at] manchester.ac.uk
Prisons, as institutions, represent complex sites of psychosocial interaction being charged with a variety of functions within society: Containment of risk, retribution (punishment), rehabilitation, and restoration or recompense. In this process they are also powerful symbols of anxiety and distress both amongst their residents and wider society. Psychoanalysis and psychosocial approaches have historically made great contributions to the consideration of such total institutions in terms of their culture and function. However, as our society continues to evolve and to adapt to changing conceptualisations of crime, disorder and punishment further work is required to better map our understanding of these spaces as they continue to develop in the 21st Century. The proposed group is intended to provide a space for conversation and reflection amongst people drawing on a range of experiences and methodologies to develop further knowledge in relation to these challenges. Areas for consideration may include: – interactions between agents within prisons themselves; liminal interactions on movement between prison and wider-society; on-line conversation and understanding in relation to offending behaviour; different forms of punishment in the 21st Century.