‘It's as if you're not in the jail, as if you're not a prisoner’: young male offenders’ experiences of incarceration, prison chaplaincy, religion and spirituality in Scotland and Denmark

Ross Deuchar, Line Lerche Mørck, Yonah Matemba, Robert McLean, Nighet Riaz

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Abstract

This article explores Scottish and Danish young male offenders’ experiences of incarceration, prison chaplaincy, religion and spirituality. The findings from in-depth face-to-face semi-structured interviews (n = 15) suggest that although Scotland and Denmark are increasingly secular countries, the prison environment (deprivation of liberty, vulnerability and feelings of guilt) seems to engender pro-religious/spiritual attitudes and an interest in prison chaplaincy services. Working with interfaith chaplains enabled the young inmates to take small steps towards managing the social strains that led them into offending, and the ‘painful’ experiences they encountered during imprisonment. The holistic chaplaincy services that they were offered helped to nurture some initial turning points that stimulated identity and behaviour change linked to transitional masculinity, and in some cases to an increased commitment towards criminal desistance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-150
Number of pages20
JournalThe Howard Journal of Crime and Justice
Volume55
Issue number1-2
Early online date11 Mar 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2016

Fingerprint

spirituality
prisoner
Denmark
correctional institution
offender
Religion
experience
imprisonment
guilt
deprivation
masculinity
vulnerability
commitment
interview

Keywords

  • spirituality
  • religion
  • chaplaincy
  • masculinity
  • desistance

Cite this

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