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Home arrow Law arrow The Voluntary Sector in Prisons: Encouraging Personal and Institutional Change

Method

Procedure

The survey was distributed in eight prisons across England, as a supplement to a wider study involving qualitative semistructured interviews with prison staff, third-sector representatives, and offenders. The eight prisons were chosen to represent the diversity of the prison estate, in terms of the population held, the function of the prison, geographical location, and the prison providers. It is not possible to name the prisons for confidentiality reasons, but Table 7.1 gives details of their function and the category of prisoners they hold, along with the survey response rates for each establishment.

As well as a request for demographic information and brief details of their custodial sentence, participants were presented with a list of TSOs concerned with reentry services that operated in their prison. This list was obtained from the offender management unit, psychology team, or from the resettlement office, and ranged between 15 and 31 organizations across the different establishments. For each organization listed, the respondents were asked to indicate whether or not they had heard of or

Table 7.1 Summary of case study sites and survey response rates

Prison

Description of prison (Two of these prisons were privately run)

Survey response rate

ID

Population

Type of prison

N (% of prisoners in establishment)

1

Female

Closed

85 (18)

2

Male

Open, training

50(10)

3

Male

Closed, local

90 (9)

4

Male

Juvenile

19 (4)

5

Female

Open, training

16 (11)

6

Male

Closed

66 (12)

7

Male young adults

Closed

46 (10)

8

Male

Closed, local

308 (25) N = 680

engaged with it. If they had heard of an organization but not engaged with it, they were offered a choice of six possible explanations for why this was so. The respondents were also asked open-ended questions such as whether there were any services which were not available in the prison but which they considered helpful to them in their resettlement needs. Prisoners in the open prisons and the juvenile establishment—which were likely to have voluntary or work placements for inmates—were asked additional questions relating to those placements, specifically whether or not the offenders engaged in any voluntary or paid work during their sentence and, if so, for which organization.

All participants were informed that the completion of the questionnaire was voluntary and anonymous. The survey was distributed to prisoners through the resettlement, offender management, or education offices, by placing them under the cell doors or including them with weekly menus for prisoners. The completed surveys were then collated either by staff or by dedicated prisoner representatives.

 
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