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Fear in prisons : its incidence and control.

Adler, Joanna (1997) Fear in prisons : its incidence and control. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94151) (KAR id:94151)


This thesis reports findings from three studies. It begins with a summary of the previous conflicting literature into the psychological effects of imprisonment. In an attempt to allow prisoners to speak for themselves and to identify research areas, the studies reported in the second chapter present illustrative quotations from interviews conducted with forty prisoners in low and medium security prisons. Following issues raised by these participants, chapters three to seven report findings from the first survey of fear in the Prison Service. Fifty-one per cent of prisoners and 67% of officers reported feeling afraid. More life sentence prisoners towards the beginning of their sentence and “vulnerable prisoners” not held in a Vulnerable Prisoner Unit report feeling fear. Seven per cent of the prisoners were afraid all of the time. The most common area in which prisoners felt fear was in their cell. Officers felt fearful in the context of situations in which control may be at risk. Officers also demonstrated a limited awareness of the fears felt by prisoners. However, they felt that prisoners would fear intimidation, bullying and being in debt whereas the prisoners themselves did not use any of these labels for their fears. Research reported in chapters eight to thirteen derived more information about the levels of fear and means of control utilised by officers. It particularly assessed the impact of female officers on male prison wings and their reception by the prisoners and their colleagues. Relationships between officers and prisoners are better than typically predicted and male and female officers do not favour different means of control, contrary to predictions. Chapter fourteen presents findings from a control group of police officers. The general conclusion is that fear in prisons is real, based on experience and both can and ought to be managed better.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94151
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
K Law > K Law (General)
K Law > KZ Law of Nations
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2023 10:09 UTC
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2023 10:09 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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