Young Men’s Experiences of Long-Term Imprisonment : Living Life book cover
1st Edition

Young Men’s Experiences of Long-Term Imprisonment
Living Life

ISBN 9780367581978
Published June 30, 2020 by Routledge
186 Pages

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $48.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Long sentenced young people are a small but significant part of the juvenile prison population. The current approach to young people convicted of serious crime speaks to wider issues in criminal and social justice, including the idealisation of (some) childhoods, processes of racialisation and identity and the sociology of the body. Analysing the relationships between biography, trauma and habitus reveals the ways in which class, racial and legal status are experienced and resisted.

Young Men's Experiences of Long-Term Imprisonment: Living Life considers the need for the reinvigoration of prison ethnography and calls for a phenomenological approach to understanding youth crime and punishment. An insightful ethnographic study on imprisoned 15- to 17-year-olds in England, this volume examines how young people experience long-term imprisonment, manage their time and imagine and shape their futures. Drawing on observations, interviews and correspondence, Tynan situates long-term imprisonment of young men within the wider social context of criminal and social justice; and analyses constructs and practices that locate responsibility for crime with individuals and communities.

Young Men's Experiences of Long-Term Imprisonment: Living Life will be of interest to students and researchers interested in the sociology of prisons, punishment and youth justice and qualitative research methodology.

Table of Contents

1 ‘Be easy, see wagwan’: Introduction

The shape of the field

Crime, risk and harm

Chapter outline

2 ‘My story’s boring’: Why young prisoners’ stories matter

The political economy of crime

Understanding prisons or understanding prisoners?

The fact of blackness and double consciousness

Shame and (symbolic) violence

Towards a phenomenology of long-term imprisonment.


3 ‘Real talk’: Methodology and reflections on fieldwork

Getting in

Research as ‘passing’

Becoming participant 

Paper files and straw men

Ethics and safety

4 ‘Just gotta ride it’: Adaptation, survival and change

Life before Cypress

From the first day to everyday

The carceral habitus.


5 ‘That’s just their pen and ink’: Resisting the pains of imprisonment

Atmosphere, accessories and alienation

'It's just not a nice place to be'

Deprivation of corporeal experience



6 ‘Obviously, you can’t just back down...’ Violence and identity

‘Gangs’, groups and good old fashioned fighting

Place, space and keeping face

Violence and collective identity

Collectivism vs individualism


7 ‘Clothes, food and love...’: family, fatherhood and the limits of fratriarchy

Something in the way

‘It is what it is’: maintaining family ties

Fatehrs and fatherhood

Things fall apart

Allies, associates and alliances


8 ‘Jail’s not gonna do nothin’ all’: Conclusion

Biography, habitus and trauma

The experience and resistance of imposed class, racial and legal status and prisonisation

Beyond the (purely) sociological imagination

Impelling the phenomenology of youth imprisonment

View More



Rachel Rose Tynan was awarded her PhD in Sociology from Goldsmiths in 2018 and manages prison/university partnerships and other criminal and social justice projects.