Exceptional prison conditions and the quality of prison life: Prison size and prison culture in Norwegian closed prisons
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Original versionJohnsen, B., Granheim, P.K. og Helgesen, J. (2001). Exceptional prison conditions and the quality of prison life: Prison size and prison culture in Norwegian closed prisons. European Journal of Criminology. 8(6), 515-529
This paper discusses the quality of prison life and prison size in relation to the notion of ‘Scandinavian exceptionalism’. Using the questionnaires ‘Measuring the Quality of Prison Life’ (MQPL) for prisoners and ‘Staff Measuring the Quality of Prison Life’ (SQL) for staff, data were collected from all 32 closed prisons in Norway. Based on the assumption that prison officers’ working lives, their perspectives and their values influence prisoners’ quality of life, the main focus in the paper is on the officers. Small prisons (fewer than 50 prisoners) obtain more positive results than medium-sized (50–100) and large (more than 100) prisons, on several dimensions measured. The relationship between officers and prisoners seems to be of better quality in small prisons than in medium-sized and large prisons. Officers in small prisons also report more positive relationships with senior management than their colleagues in medium-sized and large prisons. The results are discussed in light of previous studies on officers and prison working life dynamics.
JournalEuropean Journal of Criminology
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