Suppression, denial, sublimation: Defending against the initial pains of very long life sentences
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Wright, S., Crewe, B., & Hulley, S. (2017). Suppression, denial, sublimation: Defending against the initial pains of very long life sentences. Theoretical Criminology https://doi.org/10.1177/1362480616643581
The central purpose of the article is to explore the psychic components of the early pains of imprisonment described by male and female prisoners serving very long mandatory life sentences for murder. While there is a strong tradition of documenting prisoners’ adaptations to ‘life inside’, little work in prisons sociology explores how life-sentenced prisoners, specifically those convicted of murder, reactively respond and adjust to the early years of these sentences. Having outlined prisoners’ descriptions of entry shock, temporal vertigo and intrusive recollections, we draw upon a Freudian terminology of ‘defence mechanisms of the ego’ to argue that suppression, denial and sublimation represent key ways of ‘defending against’ (rather than ‘adapting to’) these experiences. We suggest that the particular offence–time nexus of our sample—the specific offence of murder combined with a very long sentence—helps to explain these defensive patterns.
coping, defence mechanisms, life sentences, long-term imprisonment, prisoners
We are grateful for the support of by the Economic and Social Research Council [grant: ES/J007935/1], and the Isaac Newton Trust.
Isaac Newton Trust (Minute 1407(e))
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1362480616643581
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/255859
Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
Licence URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
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