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Beyond the Prison Gate: Licencees' Perceptions of the Legitimacy of Power Holders

Irwin Rogers, Keir (2015) Beyond the Prison Gate: Licencees' Perceptions of the Legitimacy of Power Holders. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

In England & Wales, the number of people leaving prison subject to a period of supervision in the community has almost doubled in the last decade. The significant and consistent upward trend in the number of people ‘on licence’ has been accompanied by another notable trend: an increasing number of people being recalled to prison for breaching the terms and conditions of their licence. Yet, despite these two important trends, there has been a dearth of research on post-custodial supervision. This thesis explores post-custodial supervision from the perspective of those on licence. In particular, it explores licencees' perceptions of the legitimacy of probation and hostel workers, and considers how these perceptions were shaped. Understanding licencees' perceptions of the legitimacy of power holders is important, since previous research has consistently identified a relationship between people's perceptions of power holder legitimacy and their willingness to comply with rules and cooperate with those in power. Empirical fieldwork was conducted in three Approved Premises in England, including periods of observation and interviews with hostel residents and members of hostel staff. Based on this fieldwork, I identified two fundamental sources of power holder legitimacy: procedure-based and outcome-based legitimacy. Overall, I argue that licencees' perceptions of procedure-based legitimacy were pivotal, since they formed the basis of constructive relationships between licencees and power holders (e.g. probation and hostel workers). In turn, these relationships could play a significant role in helping licencees to reintegrate into their communities, thus contributing to licencees' perceptions of power holder outcome-based legitimacy. The thesis rides on a tide of legitimacy research that has already served to illuminate the fields of policing and other forms of penal sanction. While research to date has primarily utilised quantitative data to explore perceptions of legitimacy, the current research highlights the role that qualitative data can play in this regard. The thesis aims not only to increase our understanding of a neglected area of penology, but also to contribute to the development of theories of legitimacy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Licence Legitimacy Probation Criminal Justice Power Supervision Offender Post-custodial
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Law (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.655286
Depositing User: Dr K Irwin Rogers
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2015 10:09
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 12:18
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9179

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