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Tales from prison: reflections on a decade of offender research

Daniel Briggs (Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Criminal Justice in the School of Law, University of East London, London, UK)

Safer Communities

ISSN: 1757-8043

Article publication date: 10 October 2011




This paper aims to present the author's reflections on prison research studies undertaken over the last ten years.


Some reflections come from personal diaries while others are lasting memories, which made a significant impact on the author as a young researcher.


The reflections highlight several important aspects of researching prisons: that people in prison may be quite selective about information they disclose if interviewed; that prisons, rather than prisoners, can act as significant barriers for researchers – operationally as well as institutionally; that this why the researcher should try to go beyond “the interview” at all opportunities and look to engage as much as possible with interviewees – even if it means walking around the wing, playing pool with them or seeing their cells.


The short paper will be useful for any researchers entering custody with the task of undertaking quick‐fire research studies.



Briggs, D. (2011), "Tales from prison: reflections on a decade of offender research", Safer Communities, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 31-35.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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