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What are the barriers prison governors and staff face in implementing the Healthy Prisons Agenda?

Ismail, Nasrul; de Viggiani, Nick

Authors

Nasrul Ismail nasrul.ismail@uwe.ac.uk



Abstract

Aim: This research investigated the barriers faced by prison governors and staff in implementing the Healthy Prisons Agenda in England. It focused on prisons as a workplace, since prison governors and staff spend more time in prisons than the prisoners themselves.

Background: Existing studies highlight the conventional reasons for why prison rehabilitation is not appreciated: a prevailing focus on security and scepticism regarding the health agenda.

Methodology: We conducted semi-structured interviews (average 37 minutes) with 30 key prison decision-makers in England. Grounded Theory was used to construct “barriers” to realising the Healthy Prisons Agenda. Participants were recruited using purposive, theoretical, and snowball methods. Data analysis was conducted using NVivo 11 and completed in an iterative cycle, using open, focused and axial coding. Transcripts were analysed until data saturation was achieved.

Findings: At the macro level, decreased resources, gaps in workforce planning and unfavourable employment terms have reduced prison staffing levels by 30%. This reduction, along with prison instability, has forced prison staff to prioritise reactive tasks over the Healthy Prisons Agenda.

At the meso level, the prevailing focus on security and a lack of strategic guidance on how to implement the Agenda are evident. At the micro level, prison officers’ scepticism towards the Agenda, particularly regarding its utility for themselves and prisoners, remains widespread. Equally, it is not entirely pragmatic to fully embrace the Agenda, due to the consequences of the reduction in resources at the macro-level.

Conclusions: This is the first interdisciplinary qualitative study to explore how health policy and politics and organisational behaviour profoundly affect the delivery of the Healthy Prisons Agenda in English prisons. The allocation of additional resources and a paradigm shift by prison governors and staff in appreciating prison rehabilitation may promote the longevity of the Healthy Prisons Agenda in England.

Presentation Conference Type Lecture
Start Date Mar 13, 2018
Publication Date Mar 13, 2018
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 1-14
APA6 Citation Ismail, N., & de Viggiani, N. (2018, March). What are the barriers prison governors and staff face in implementing the Healthy Prisons Agenda?. Presented at South West Public Health Scientific Conference
Keywords prison governors, prison staff, Healthy Prisons Agenda, healthy prisons, prisons, England
Publisher URL http://decipher.uk.net/south-west-public-health-scientific-conference-2018/
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : South West Public Health Scientific Conference 2018

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