Researching Prison, Women’s Voices

  • Linda Moore
  • Phil Scraton
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology book series (PSIPP)


Considering that the prison or detention centre is predicated on the loss of a person’s liberty and removing from the prisoner every vestige of personal and social identity, it is remarkable that they are places of fascination. For researchers in part this is a consequence of seeking to understand and explain the inner workings of total institutions. Whether their location is urban or remote, the prison is highly visible, forbidding and intrusive. In contrast to its outward appearance, its most mundane and its most spectacular events are invisible even to the most astute observer. It is self-evident that walls, fences, gates and bars are structural barriers to prisoners’ freedom and movement. When the prison is locked down for the night its prisoners, like Russian Dolls, are celled within multiple layers of confinement; layers that hold prisoners in, while keeping others out. Prison security is not one dimensional. It imposes absolute control of access to prisoners and absolute control of access to information.


Criminal Justice Total Institution Detention Centre Woman Prisoner Prison Service 
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Copyright information

© Linda Moore and Phil Scraton 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda Moore
    • 1
  • Phil Scraton
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Criminology, Politics and Social PolicyUniversity of UlsterUK
  2. 2.School of LawQueen’s University BelfastUK

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