Presentation on theme: "Action for Prisoners’ Families Families of Older Prisoners Seminar 11 July 2013."— Presentation transcript:
Action for Prisoners’ Families Families of Older Prisoners Seminar 11 July 2013
Making love last: Maintaining relationships with long-term prisoners Anna Kotova, Centre for Criminology University of Oxford
Background Project title: "Making Love Last: Maintaining Intimate Relationships with Long-term Prisoners" (funded by the Sir Halley Stewart Trust) Overview of aims and objectives of project Overview of methodology Overview of the research participants to date (8 in- depth semi-structured interviews with partners of long- term prisoners) QUESTION: What does 'older' mean?
Theme 1: Practical issues Practical problems likely to be exacerbated by long-term nature of the sentence: more so if the partner (and/or the prisoner himself) are older. E.g. Anne, despite being in her mid-50s, has to work full-time (would not have had to otherwise). Health problems: Esther's partner needs hip replacement, prison unhelpful. Sarah suspects her husband had had a stroke: impact on visits.
Theme 1: Practical issues (con'd) Life moves on, especially for older prisoners: family members dying was a key theme in the interviews so far. The partners had to relay these sad news. If older, more likely to have traditional mentalities/lifestyles: Elizabeth felt lost because her husband used to guide her and she was not used to making decisions on her own.
Theme 2: Relationship dimension Imprisonment, especially long-term imprisonment, means a re-shaping of the intimate relationship. Some of the women did not feel that the lack of intimacy was a serious problem due to their age ('party days' over). Some felt that they could not just walk away from a relationship they were invested in for a long time. Sarah: 'You don’t become married to somebody, for 25 years or beyond, and then lose it just that like.' Esther: 'Part of our success is our age.'
Theme 3: Coping and maturity No longer 'young girls' - saw themselves as more mature. E.g. Mary saw the 'younger girls' as needing counseling and preparation. Anne refused to see herself as 'old' - but did see herself as more mature/'settled'/'content'. Would a 26-year-old girl want to go to prison every week? asked Esther. Anne wondered how you would cope alone with young children, as a young girl. Participants very reflexive: most spoke at length about importance of communication.
Theme 4: Worries and concerns Isabella's partner 'too old' to work in current prison: she worries about him sitting in his cell and studying all the time. Many felt their health, especially their mental well being, has been affected by their partners' imprisonment: e.g. Anne: 'I feel as though I’m suffering physically...’ Isabella: 'Since my husband’s been in prison, I’m lucky if I get 3 hours of sleep a night.’ Another participant discussed (very real) fears over either or both of them dying before her husband's release.