What are the implications of changing place for the Professional Performativity of Prison Officers?

Matthew Maycock (Lead / Corresponding author), Kenny McGuckin, Katrina Morrison

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    Throughcare Support Officers (TSOs) were a unique role in the Scottish criminal justice system when they operated between 2015 and 2019. This research challenges and extends existing prison scholarship by asking a number of novel questions: to what extent do prisons as places shape prison officer identities and what happens to prison officer identities when you largely remove the prison itself. TSOs were prison officers who worked with newly released individuals from custody, and their work was based largely in the community supporting reintegration. In this article, we utilize two strands of Judith Butler’s theories of performativity and materiality, theories that have been used to analyze professional identities in other professions, although not in the criminal justice system until now. Analysis from data generated through 20 semi-structured interviews (a sample of 49% of all TSOs), illustrates that through a greater fluidity of TSO roles, TSOs are able to agentically adapt to a range of situations and hierarchies. The reflections of TSOs provide a unique insight into the place and perception of prisons within the criminal justice system in Scotland. More widely our analysis provides new insights into the ways in which custodial and the community settings shape particular professional identities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages17
    JournalCorrections: Policy, Practice and Research
    Early online date17 Sep 2020
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Sep 2020


    • Gender
    • Prisons
    • Reentry/Reintegration
    • Performativity
    • Theory


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