Doing Prison Work: The Public and Private Lives of Prison Officers

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Willan Publishing, 2006 - Social Science - 281 pages
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This book provides a much needed sociological account of the social world of the English prison officer, making an original contribution to our understanding of the inner life of prisons in general and the working lives of prison officers in particular. As well as showing how the job of the prison officer – and by extension the prison itself – is accomplished on a day-to-day basis, the book explores not only what prison officers do but also how they feel about their work and how they act when they are doing it. In focusing on these dimensions of prison work, Elaine Crawley illuminates key prison features of prison life, such as the essentially domestic character of the prison environment, the degree of emotional labour invested in prison work, and the performative nature of the day-to-day interactions between officers and prisoners, and between officers themselves. Finally, the book follows the prison officer home after work, to demonstrate how the prison can spill over into home life and into non-work relationships. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in different types of prisons (and drawing from interviews with prison officers’ partners and children as well as prison officers themselves), this book will be essential reading for all those with an interest in prisons and the day-to-day interactions and relationships that take place behind their walls.

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About the author (2006)

Elaine Crawley is Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Salford.

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