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, 58 (3). pp. 384-403. ISSN 0265-5527

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/hojo.12318

Abstract

The penal voluntary sector is highly variegated in its roles, practices and functions, though research to date has largely excluded the experiences of frontline 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 a weakness for arts organisations working in this field.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: alterity, arts interventions, narrative criminology, penal voluntary sector, prisons
Divisions: School of Sciences
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1111/hojo.12318
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2018 13:33
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2020 13:51
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