The Parole Dossier and its Negative Impacts on Prisoner Identity
This article suggests that the parole dossier may be working to damage prisoners’ sense of their identity. Through the creation of a carceral script which describes a person whom they do not recognise as themselves and which leads to an increased narrative labour. Prisoners’ struggle therefore to form a post offence identity with which to navigate a complex process. As identity, and its repair, appear instrumental to desistance, elements of the process, such as the dossier, could be putting hopes of rehabilitation at risk. Using the analysis of fifteen prisoner interviews, this article explores a parole process described as undermining agency. A process where risk assessment is perceived poorly and where ultimately the experience can lead to negative impacts on an already fragile self-identity. In conclusion, this article attempts to offer some solutions, to mitigate the negative effects, with a view to maximising the potential impact of the dossier process on future desistance, through the more meaningful involvement of the prisoner at its centre.