Breaking Out: The Institutionalized Practices of Youth Prison Guards and the Inmates Who Set Them Free

  • Natalie Davey


Drawing from a place-based educational study of a youth detention centre, this chapter offers a narrative analysis of interviews with former staff and residents to expose incivilities between staff that worked together. Unanticipated threads that tie into the study of workplace violence became sewn together as the site’s hierarchical layers and practices shine an unflattering light on various examples of micro/lateral aggressions and incivility between the institution’s staff. Narrative analysis points to the role of education as a way to de(colonize) institutions as guards and staff share memories of youth inmates who acted for them as models of conflict resolution. Extended from the detention centre’s narrative data is the consideration that hierarchical disruptions are key to making space for conflict resolution in such a place of enclosure.


  1. Alvi, S. (2012). Youth Criminal Justice Policy in Canada: A Critical Introduction. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andersson, L. M., & Pearson, C. M. (1999, July). Tit for tat: The spiraling effect of incivility in the workplace. The Academy of Management Review, 24(3), 452–471.Google Scholar
  3. Arendt, J. (2011). [In]Subordination: Inmate photography and narrative elicitation in a youth incarceration facility. Cultural Studies Critical Methodologies, 11(3), 265–273. Scholar
  4. Bhatti, G. (2010). Learning behind bars: Education in prisons. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(1), 31–36. Scholar
  5. Brennan, S. (2014). The moral status of micro-inequities: In favour of institutional solutions. Retrieved from
  6. Davey, N. (2016). A [Re]membered place: Missed opportunities of the “educational” for incarcerated youth and the ongoing effects of York Detention Centre’s closure (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from
  7. Denzin, N. K. (1994). The art and politics of interpretation. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of Qualitative Research (pp. 500–515). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  8. Freire, P. (1971). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Seabury Press.Google Scholar
  9. Gooch, K. E. (2013). Boys to Men: Growing Up and Doing Time in an English Young Offender Institution. Retrieved from
  10. Griffin, M. (2004). Teaching cognitive rehearsal as a shield for lateral violence: An intervention for newly licensed nurses. Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 35, 257–263.Google Scholar
  11. McCormack, C. (2000). From interview transcript to interpretive story. Field Methods, 12(4), 282–297. Retrieved from
  12. Polkinghorne, D. E. (2007). Validity issues in narrative research. Qualitative Inquiry, 13(4), 471–486. Scholar
  13. Ritske, E. (2012). What is decolonization and why does it matter? Intercontinental Cry. Retrieved from
  14. Roberts, S. J. (2015). Violence in nursing: A review of the past three decades. Nursing Science Quarterly, 28(1), 36–41. Scholar
  15. Till, K. E. (2005). The New Berlin: Memory, Politics, Place. Minneapolis.Google Scholar
  16. Young, S. (2007). Micro Messaging: Why Great Leadership is Beyond Words. Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Natalie Davey
    • 1
  1. 1.Toronto District School BoardTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations