A Mixed-Methods Approach to Explore the Quality of Life and Experiences of Older Male Prisoners in HMPS


Recent changes in the English prison population have seen over 80% of prisoners serving a sentence of 4 or more years, cluttering the English prison population with male prisoners aged 50 years and above (Le Mesurier, Kingston, Heath, & Wardle, 2010). Literature highlights that older prisoners experience many difficulties, including physical, psychological and emotional concerns (Crawley, 2004). In addition, older prisoners are suggested to express fears and anxieties over their future, including spending their final days incarcerated, life with younger inmates and resettling into the community (Crawley, 2004). This mixed-methods study is based on the fieldwork element for an ongoing PhD study exploring the Quality of Life and experiences of older prisoners. This article will illustrate the preliminary findings from one of the three prison case sites participating in the research. This article is presented in two parts: the first will place a focus on the methods of collecting data, particularly the ‘highs and lows’ of mixed-methods research; the second will discuss the barriers the author faced when carrying out the fieldwork element of the study within a prison environment. Finally, this article will provide tips and hints for carrying out research with prisoners as participants.

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