AN EXPLORATION INTO THE LIVED EXPERIENCE OF TRANSITIONING FROM PRISON INTO THE COMMUNITY FOR MALE EX-PRISONERS IN SCOTLAND
This study explored the experience of transitioning from prison for male ex prisoners in Scotland, focusing on the factors influencing this, and the support received in prison. This study utilised a generic qualitative methodology, partnering with a charity to interview 4 participants. It was found that the nature of locations could have implications for occupational participation in the transition. Additionally, participants noted the importance of avoiding locations, describing this in relation to drug use. It was inferred that avoiding locations could be instrumental in the transition for drug-addicted offenders. Another finding was the potential for meaningful occupation in prison, arguing that offenders should be given more choice in order for this to be realised. Furthermore, it was argued that there should be more continuity of occupation in the transition. Another finding was that the lack of occupational choice in prison could limit offenders’ ability to make positive choices upon release. Participants expressed an expectation of returning to high-risk behaviour, and it is argued that this may be indicative of a criminal or addict self identity. Furthermore, participants valued motivation, however it is posited that an expectation of relapse may impede the role of motivation. An interesting finding was that two participants declined support, leading to the conclusion that services may benefit from an individualised approach to increasing service engagement. However, two participants were ineligible for support due to their sentence length, adding to the evidence base regarding the challenges of short sentences. Findings also highlighted the role that family can have in making the transition easier or more complex. The final finding was that participants serving longer sentences, with a more rigid routine, experienced difficulty maintaining a productive routine upon release. It was concluded that they might have experienced institutionalisation, in comparison those serving shorter sentences with less structure.