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Veterans in Custody

Read on to find out more about our research on the experiences of veterans residing and working in custody.

A field of poppies
How do veteran staff and prisoners navigate prison life? Image by photographic337

The Centre for Prisons Research is interested in better understanding the experiences of veterans in custody, both as prisoners and prison staff. Ultimately, we seek to answer the question: How do veteran staff and prisoners navigate prison life?

Project in Focus: Restoring Fallen Heroes

Drawing on original empirical research conducted within a specialist ‘community’ for veterans at HMP Berwyn, this project explores the narratives and experiences of veterans in custody. In this project, we seek to critically explore why and how veterans enter the criminal justice system – either as prisoners and staff – and the similarities and differences between the transitional journeys of veteran prisoners compared with veteran staff. We explore the benefits and challenges of operating a dedicated community for veterans prisoners staffed by veteran prison officers, interrogating the extent to which it is indeed possible to ‘make big feel small’ and whether it is possible to create a genuine sense of community. In so doing, this research explores, revisits, and expands upon key themes in the academic literature such as prison architecture and design, the notion of a prison ‘community’, prison officer culture, staff-prisoner relationships, prisoner normative code, power, identity, masculinity and gendered performance. In addition, we explore the relevance of concepts of hope, trust, and belonging.

The book Restoring Fallen Heroes: the Experiences of Veterans in Custody is due for publication in 2022.

For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Kate Gooch.