University of Twente Student Theses


Juvenile Prisoners Well-Being and implications for Prison Practice

Thiel, M. (2018) Juvenile Prisoners Well-Being and implications for Prison Practice.

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Abstract:Background: Juvenile prisoners in Germany are prone for recidivism. Self-Determination Theory offers an explanation, as it serves as a mean to explain prosocial behavior and social integration, but also human malevolence and recidivism. Accordingly, there are three basic needs referred to as autonomy, competence and relatedness which constitute the prerequisites of well-being. Well-being refers to optimal psychological experience and functioning. In prison, the needs seem difficult to fulfill. Self-Determination Theory postulates that unfulfilled needs will result in low well-being, leading to poor adaptation to prison life and a higher probability of recidivism. If the needs are fulfilled, prisoners experience increased well-being which can serve as a mean to decrease recidivism. Juvenile sentence and rehabilitation may be improved through means aiming to intensify prisoners basic need satisfaction and well-being. Objective: The objective was to better understand well-being of juvenile prisoners and to generate implications for well-being increasing measures. Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 juvenile prisoners. Participants were asked 1. Whether they perceive the three basic needs as fulfilled, 2. Which prerequisites they need in order to experience well-being, 3. How they assess their current well-being in prison compared to perceived well-being before and expected well-being after detention, 4. If there is a training interest to increase well-being and which topics such a training should cover. Additionally, prompting cards were used to explore sources of well-being and possible training contents; well-being was examined by a Likert-Scale. Interviews were audio-recorded and analyzed by one coder both deductively and inductively. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze probing card choices and Likert-Scale ratings. Results: The outcomes showed that: 1. Of all three needs, it only appeared that autonomy was restricted. 2. Prisoners most frequently named prerequisite of well-being was categorized as relatedness, followed by regular life. 3. The majority of the prisoners perceived their well-being as increased in prison compared to before, and expected it to further increase with the forthcoming release. 4. Prisoners were interested in a training, covering the topics learning and education. Conclusion: The results showed that prisoners need fulfillment and well-being are satisfactory. However, additionally steps to increase well-being are advisable. Prison practice should enable prisoners to experience relatedness, initiate a regular life and improve their education. Besides, possible frustrations of prisoners’ future expectations should be anticipated. Keywords: Self-Determination Theory, Well-being, Prison, Course of well-being, Well-Being Training, Recidivism, Qualitative, Interview, Content Analysis
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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