From the outside in: narratives of creative arts practitioners working in the criminal justice system

Simpson, E, Morgan, C and Caulfield, L.S (2019) 'From the outside in: narratives of creative arts practitioners working in the criminal justice system.' The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice. ISSN 0265-5527 (Forthcoming)

Abstract

The penal voluntary sector is highly variegated in its roles, practices and functions, though research to date has largely excluded the experiences of front-line practitioners. We argue that engaging with the narratives of practitioners can provide fuller appreciation of the potential of the sector’s work. Though life story and narrative have been recognised as important in offender desistance (Maruna, 2001), the narrative identities of creative arts practitioners, who are important ‘change agents’ (Albertson, 2015), are typically absent. This is despite evidence to suggest that a practitioner’s life history can be a significant and positive influence in the rehabilitation of offenders (Harris, 2017). Using narratological analysis (Bal, 2009), this study examined the narratives of 19 creative practitioners in prisons in England and Wales. Of particular interest were the formative experiences of arts practitioners in their journey to prison work. The findings suggest that arts practitioners identify with an ‘outsider’ status and may be motivated by an ethic of mutual aid. In the current climate of third sector involvement in the delivery of criminal justice interventions, such a capacity may be both a strength and weakness for arts organisations working in this field.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: penal voluntary sector; narrative criminology; arts interventions; prisons; alterity
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2018 13:33
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2019 15:22
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