Discourse and Decision-Making in Scottish Prisons

  • Michael Adler
  • Brian Longhurst


For the last few years we have been attempting to study day-to-day administrative decision-making within the Scottish prison system. We have focused on adult, male, long-term prisoners, who constitute the largest and most problematic of the various groups which make up the prison population, and have analysed in detail several major areas of decision-making including: the initial allocation of prisoners to establishments by the National Classification Board; transfers between establishments; security categorisations; the allocation of work and education; the distribution of privileges; recommendations for parole; the handling of requests and grievances through petitions to the Secretary of State; appeals to the domestic courts, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration and the European Commission on Human Rights; and the activities of the Prisons Inspectorate. In each case we have sought to establish what decisions are accomplished; why the system operates in the way it does; what problems are created by existing practices, for whom they are problematic and to what extent they have given rise to pressure for change; what are the obstacles to change; how effective are the different forms of accountability; what alternatives to the existing system are being canvassed and what their implications for day-to-day administrative decision-making would be.


Civil Servant Prison System National Classification Domestic Court Normalisation Discourse 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Adler
  • Brian Longhurst

There are no affiliations available

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