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"We call it jail craft": the erosion of the protective discourses drawn on by prison officers dealing with ageing and dying prisoners in the neoliberal, carceral system

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/12/2018
Issue number6
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)1152-1168
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date7/04/17
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The UK prison population has doubled in the last decade, with the greatest increases among prisoners over the age of 60 years, many of whom are sex offenders imprisoned late in life for ‘historical’ offences. Occurring in a context of ‘austerity’ and the wider neoliberal project, an under-researched consequence of this increase has been the rising numbers of ‘anticipated’ prison deaths; that is, deaths that are foreseeable and that require end of life care. We focus here on ‘jail craft’; a nostalgic, multi-layered, narrative or discourse, and set of tacit practices which are drawn on by officers to manage the affective and practical challenges of working with the demands of this changed prison environment. Utilising findings from an empirical study of end of life care in prisons, we propose that the erosion of jail craft depletes protective resources and sharpens the practical consequences of neoliberal penal policies.