This study explores the experiences and perceptions of ten male prisoners who are fathers held in Mountjoy prison, in relation to the roles and responsibilities of fatherhood. It also investigates the factors that constrain or enables their involvement as fathers. Through a qualitative research design, ten male prisoners were interviewed using an in-depth, unstructured ‘conversational interview approach’ (Rubin and Rubin, 1995). The challenges of conducting research in a closed and secure environment are discussed. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed using Ritchie et al’s (2003) ‘thematic framework’. This study will illustrate how addiction issues, fragility in co-partner relationships, and sporadic involvement as fathers were dominant experiences. Prisoners were highly dependent on co-partners to facilitate their involvement as fathers. Prisoners who felt secure in their co-partner relationships, referred to family life as a source of support in prison, while men in strained relationships displayed more divers, ambivalent and conflicting views in relation to their role. This study will show how prisoners managed to reconciled the stigma of imprisonment with the authority and status of a father. The dominance of the ‘nurturing’ model of fatherhood will also be illustrated as a cultural reference of ideal fatherhood.
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2007|