A Qualitative Study of the Rehabilitative Potential of Music in Prisons and Immigration Removal Centers

Amilcar Dickie-Johnson, Rosie Meek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Music-based programmes have been found to improve well-being and
rehabilitation for people in prison and other places of detention, but
there is a limited understanding of the mechanisms driving this. This
paper seeks to explore how music has the potential to contribute to
desistance from crime, specifically in the context of identity transformation.
Respondents were ex-detainees in England who had taken part in
music-based programmes either in a prison, an Immigration Removal
Center, or in the community. Facilitators of music projects also took part
in the study. The data comprised of ethnographic observations of three
different music sessions, supplemented by two semi-structured interviews.
A thematic analysis revealed a core concept that music production
and consumption were used to construct identity in reaction to the
deconstructive effects of incarceration, leading to reported improvements
in self-esteem and self-efficacy. Findings are discussed in relation
to policy and practice recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Creativity in Mental Health
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Dec 2020

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