'Coping with the job’: Prison staff responding to self-harm in English Women's Prisons

Date and time: 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017 - 16:15


Room L50, Department of Psychology, Durham University South Road, Durham, DH1 3LE

Seminar around Dr. Tammi Walker's paper 'Coping with the job': Prison staff responding to self-harm in English Women's Prisons. This paper considers how those who work in prisons are affected by and respond to repetitive self-harm of imprisoned women in English prisons. This paper considers the perspectives of custodial staff working in this area on a day-to-day basis. Semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with prison staff and examined: the emotional impact of working with and witnessing self-harm incidents, coping strategies used, training and the support available to prison staff. Findings will be presented that indicate the strategies used by staff to cope emotionally with such incidents and these include presenting a ‘façade of coping’, rejecting support and becoming desensitised. It will conclude with accounts of how staff feel they must portray themselves as coping well with self-harm in prison even when they were troubled and emotionally affected by it.