Supporting Death, Dying and Bereavement in the English Criminal Justice System: An Exploratory Qualitative Study

Lillie, AK. and Corcoran, M and Read, S and Santatzoglou, S and Wrigley, A and Hunt, Katie (2016) Supporting Death, Dying and Bereavement in the English Criminal Justice System: An Exploratory Qualitative Study. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 52 (6). pp. 121-122. ISSN 0885-3924

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2016.10.265

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Supporting Death, Dying and Bereavement in the English Criminal Justice System: An Exploratory Qualitative Study
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Abstract

Objectives: This paper reports findings from an interdisciplinary, funded, small scale qualitative research study that aimed to explore bereavement support mechanisms within the Staffordshire, (UK) criminal justice system. This is important because the bereaved are over-represented in the criminal justice system. A growing prison population, longer custodial sentences, and changes to parole procedures mean that the number of people reaching old age in UK prisons has increased significantly. Prisoners are an ageing population that increasingly confront death and bereavement whilst incarcerated.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews (n=12) were conducted with multidisciplinary professionals who had experience supporting grief, loss and dying within the criminal justice system. One focus group (n=10) involving palliative care healthcare professionals (nurses and doctors) was also conducted. All data were thematically analysed. Data collection and thematic analysis was conducted by a multidisciplinary research team with legal, criminology and healthcare backgrounds.
Results: The ‘management’ of grief, bereavement and even death, was perceived as being secondary to security concerns. Civic loss, defined as ‘the revocation of civil rights by a government, especially as a consequence of a felony conviction’, was consistently perceived as compounding the personal experience of loss and bereavement. Findings highlighted how vulnerability made it difficult for individuals to express emotions, maintain self-care and communicate with friends and family when bereaved. They also drew attention to how the physical, psychosocial and spiritual needs of the dying were constrained.
Conclusion: There is a lack of structured systematic support for the dying and bereaved in prisons. It will be argued that people who experience death, bereavement and loss within the criminal justice system should have access to a range of support options. This should be provided as a civil right based on equitable access, not from a utilitarian need to reduce offending behaviour.

Keywords:Death, Dying, Bereavement, Prison, Criminal Justice
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V650 Pastoral studies
M Law > M211 Criminal Law
B Subjects allied to Medicine > B701 Palliative Care Nursing
Divisions:College of Social Science > Lincoln Law School
ID Code:36812
Deposited On:06 Sep 2019 09:01

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