‘The Berwyn Way’: A Qualitative Study of the Rehabilitative Model at HMP Berwyn
AuthorsPrescott, Joanne A.
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AbstractTypified predominantly as ‘agencies of disempowerment and deprivation’, traditional prisons represent the antithesis of a rehabilitative setting (De Viggiani, 2007a, p.115). As such, the aim of this qualitative study was to explore the physical, psychological, and social implications of HMP Berwyn’s rehabilitative model (The Berwyn Way) from the perspective of prison residents and operational staff. As a single-site project, Berwyn was of particular interest because of its recent introduction to the UK prison estate. Opening in February 2017, Berwyn, a North Walian establishment, housing up to 2106 adult males, opened with an ambitious rehabilitative agenda which promised to normalise the prison setting by focusing on rehabilitative cultures and values, improved spatial design, therapeutic staff-resident relationships and a person-first lexicon which aimed to replace traditional prison terminology with inclusive alternatives. These are but some of the approaches listed under the ‘Berwyn Way’, and in addressing the many others, this thesis discusses the wider implications of Berwyn’s approach, and does so, with accounts from a sample of 20 prison residents and 20 operational staff, using semi-structured interviews. To capture further nuances, triangulation was utilised and included ethnographic observations and detailed fieldnotes. Thematic analysis of the triangulated dataset generated four themes: The Berwyn Way; Lifting the liminal veil between the outside and inside; Managing behaviour, and finally, Actions speak louder than words: rethinking prison language, relationships and interactions. Findings from the study did not support the expectation that Berwyn’s rehabilitative model would be broadly accepted, and instead there was some resistance to rehabilitative change, both from a resident and staff perspective. From a rehabilitative standpoint, there were however areas of notable best-practice, with certain operational areas encapsulating the essence of Berwyn’s rehabilitative model with consistent professional practice, acceptance to Berwyn’s overarching vision and a willingness to challenge the orthodox narrative of punitive imprisonment. The thesis concludes with observations surrounding the implications of the study for rehabilitative penal practice within prisons in England and Wales, and recommendations for future research.
CitationPrescott, J. A. (2021). ‘The Berwyn Way’: A Qualitative Study of the Rehabilitative Model at HMP Berwyn [Unpublished doctoral thesis]. University of Chester & Wrexham Glyndŵr University.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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