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Suppression, denial, sublimation: Defending against the initial pains of very long life sentences

Suppression, denial, sublimation: Defending against the initial pains of very long life sentences 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. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Theoretical Criminology: An International Journal SAGE

Suppression, denial, sublimation: Defending against the initial pains of very long life sentences

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References (62)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2016
ISSN
1362-4806
eISSN
1461-7439
DOI
10.1177/1362480616643581
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

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.

Journal

Theoretical Criminology: An International JournalSAGE

Published: May 1, 2017

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