Critical Criminology

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 175–196 | Cite as

Structuration Theory and Wrongful Imprisonment: From ‘Victimhood’ to ‘Survivorship’?

  • Gabe Tan


Building on existing research from a zemiological approach, this article seeks to contribute to a more ontological understanding of the production and reproduction of harms associated with wrongful imprisonment in England and Wales. Drawing from Anthony Giddens’s theory of structuration, it is argued that whilst the harms of wrongful imprisonment are both complex and devastating, victims need not be perceived as entirely passive. Rather, victims of wrongful imprisonment can be viewed as knowledgeable agents with the intrinsic capacity and agency to strategically cope with and even survive the harms that they experience. The article concludes with personal accounts by victims of wrongful imprisonment that form an identifiable ‘survivor’ discourse to highlight some of the key critical factors that are vital in helping victims of wrongful imprisonment to re-structure their lives after release.


State Crime Social Harm Wrongful Conviction Innocent Victim False Confession 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I am tremendously grateful to Michael Naughton for his unstinting encouragement and assistance with previous drafts. I would also like to express my gratitude to the two Anonymous Reviewers for their critical engagement and constructive comments on the original submission which have forced me to clarify my thoughts and undoubtedly improved the article. The usual caveat applies—any errors or mistakes are my own.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Innocence Network UK (INUK)School of Law, University of BristolBristolUK

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