• Sidsel Bodholt Nielsen
  • Stine Bodholt Nielsen
  • Rune Elmquist Bach
The purpose of this master’s thesis is to study how pre-trial detainees describe the power relations existing in a Danish prison. The reason for choosing to investigate this subject is the lack of a qualitative academic research in a Danish context.
If the Danish court system suspects that a pre-trial detainee will commit a similar crime, he is placed in prison until receiving the final sentencing. Another contributory cause to placing a person in remand is a putative and reasonable risk that the pre-trial detainee will either interfere with the investigation of the case, not appear in court for trial or in the period until judgment time, will commit crime again.
The analysis is divided into three chapters. First, we present the ‘power of time’ exerted by the authorities. Inmates feel they are in a powerless situation, when they communicate with the justice system. Every four weeks, the court decides whether the pre-trial detention shall continue. Besides that the inmates often wait for the guards to unlock the cell door in order to go to the toilet, do their laundry etc.
The second part of the analysis shows how the distribution of power is divided between guards and inmates. One might assume that only the guards execute power in a prison, but the analysis combined with studies from Gresham Sykes, Torsten Kolind along with others concludes that it is not the case. In prison there is a continuous negotiation of power.
The third part of the analysis illustrates the relationship of power among inmates in the prison. The inmates are roughly divided into two groups: the accused sex offenders and the rest. The non-sex offenders consider the other group as non-existing, while the sex offenders are just taking care of themselves.
Publication date8 May 2017
Number of pages97
ID: 257174511