Maureen O Hara
Project Title: “The Impact of Prison Work on Prison Officers”
Name: Maureen O Hara
Supervisor: Dr. Liam Leonard
‘What is the impact of prison work on prison officers?’
The researcher has chosen this as a research question because in Ireland there appears to be a lack of prison studies, in particular with regard to prison officers. In the UK Arnold, Liebling and Tait (2007) and Crawley (2004) have conducted studies with prison officers and their experiences will be invaluable to the researcher. Hence, the researcher would like to conduct a similar study with prison officers in prisons in the Republic of Ireland in order to address the issues and concerns that impact on their work. Arnold, Liebling and Tait (2007) outline the gap that exists in relation to research on prison officers.
In addition they describe the misconceptions which shape understandings of the work and conditions surrounding prison officers in the course of their duties. This study will develop the work undertaken by these authors and apply this to the Irish case, focusing on stress emanating from the challenging nature of prison work. Crawley examines the ‘public and private lives of prison officers’ again in the context of the day to day experiences and ‘emotional labour’ which are part of the prison officer’s work with the prison population. These concepts will shape the theoretical framework of this study.
In addition this study will examine these issues in related occupations, such social care and social work, in order to find areas of congruence in relation to stress, violence or burnout. This information will be attained through interviews with relevant actors in the field.