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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

Abstract

Purpose

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

Design/methodology/approach

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

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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

Keywords

Citation

Briggs, D. (2011), "Tales from prison: reflections on a decade of offender research", Safer Communities, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 31-35. https://doi.org/10.1108/17578041111185695

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited