Trajectories of hope and fatalism in the late stage of a life sentence. / Wright, Serena; Hulley, Susie; Crewe, Ben.

In: Theoretical Criminology, 31.03.2021.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



Recent debates in penal jurisprudence have identified ‘hope’ as a fundamental ‘right’ for prisoners serving capital or whole life/without parole sentences. However, the experience of hope/lessness among life-sentenced prisoners for whom release is procedurally possible – the vast majority – has been comparatively neglected. In this article, we draw on prison-based interviews with men and women at the late stage of a life sentence in England and Wales to explore hope oriented around release and progression. The findings identify those factors which appear most conducive to hope-formation among this group, as well as those which diminish and destroy it. These findings have implications for the growing trend towards exceptionally long life sentences, as well as responding to Vanier’s (2016) call for greater investment in lifers’ personal testimonies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTheoretical Criminology
Publication statusSubmitted - 31 Mar 2021

ID: 41163746