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Captive in cycles of invisibility? Prisoners' work for the private sector

Pandeli, Jenna, Marinetto, Michael and Jenkins, Jean 2019. Captive in cycles of invisibility? Prisoners' work for the private sector. Work, Employment and Society 33 (4) , pp. 596-612. 10.1177/0950017018777712

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Abstract

This article critiques a case of modern prison-labour by exploring prisoners’ attitudes towards the prison-work they undertake while incarcerated. The study is based at a privatised male prison in the UK, assigned the pseudonym ‘Bridgeville’. Bridgeville contracts with private-sector firms in providing market-focused prison-work – so-called real work – for inmates in some of its workshops. In exploring prisoners’ perceptions of this privatised prison-work, it is found that it mainly comprises mundane, low-skilled activities typical of informalised, poor-quality jobs that are socially, legally and economically devalued and categorised as forms of ‘invisible work’. At Bridgeville, such privatised prison-work largely fails in engaging or upskilling inmates, leaving them pessimistic about its value as preparation for employment post-release. Its rehabilitative credentials are therefore questioned. The article contributes to the debate around invisible work more generally by problematising this example of excluded work and the cycle of disadvantage that underpins it.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0950-0170
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 September 2018
Date of Acceptance: 24 April 2018
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2019 08:16
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/114734

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