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CJS Seminar: Deborah Russo

Person reaching through bars


Virtual Event - Zoom


Mon 5 December 2022

The Crime, Justice & Societey Seminar Series presents

Isolation in Scottish prisons through a letter-writing project

Deborah Russo, University of Edinburgh and member of the Scottish Centre for Crime & Justice Research

About the seminar
My PhD focuses on experiences of isolation in Scottish prisons through the qualitative research means of the letter. Why the letter? My PhD journey began in September 2019. By March 2020 the first Covid19 national lockdown had been imposed, resulting in my research plans grinding to a halt due to prison access for researchers being forbidden – at the time – indefinitely. With no other viable options, I had to think creatively of alternative ways to collect my data. The letter came to mind thanks to my previous experience as a prison lawyer for 15 years, when my principal means of communication with clients was by letter. Could this means of communication shift from the professional realm to a research context? This was achieved by way of a correspondence project with 26 participants over a period of 12 months. The letters have so far indicated that the effects of Covid19 on prisoners were (and continue to be) pervasive and affected each individually as well as collectively in different ways. Intimate experiences of isolation were shared by letter which perhaps would not have been so openly shared in interview, changing the dynamic of letter writing to one apt for research on sensitive topics. Alongside a discussion about my choice of research method, as my correspondence project is now drawing to a close, I will also be sharing some preliminary findings


View speaker bio on the Scottish Centre for Crime & Justice Research Website


This event will be held on Zoom - please register below.

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