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The penal voluntary sector: a hybrid sociologyThe penal voluntary sector (PVS) is an important, complex, under-theorised area. Its non-profit, non-statutory organisations are highly significant in the operation of punishment around the world, yet ill-understood. Burgeoning scholarship has begun to examine specific parts of the sector, particularly individualised service delivery. We offer a five paradigm framework which more fully conceptualises the PVS, including different types of service delivery and important campaigning work. Our hybrid framework applies and extends Burrell and Morgan’s (1979) influential four paradigm model of social theory, which maps the theoretical diversity underpinning varying organisational activities. Our framework i) provides ideal-types which illustrate the range, fluidity and hybridity of PVS programmes and practices, and ii) highlights the (potential) roles of brokers in (re)directing activity.
This is how it feels: activating lived experience in the penal voluntary sectorIncreasing calls for ‘nothing about us without us’ envision marginalised people as valuable and necessary contributors to policies and practices affecting them. In this paper, we examine what this type of inclusion feels like for criminalised people who share their lived experiences in penal voluntary sector organisations. Focus groups conducted in England and Scotland illustrated how this work was experienced as both safe, inclusionary and rewarding and exclusionary, shame-provoking and precarious. We highlight how these tensions of ‘user involvement’ impact criminalised individuals and compound wider inequalities within this sector. The individual, emotional and structural implications of activating lived experience therefore require careful consideration. We consider how the penal voluntary sector might more meaningfully and supportively engage criminalised individuals in service design and delivery. These considerations are significant for broader criminal justice and social service provision seeking to meaningfully involve those with lived experience.