Cardiff Metropolitan University
Libby Payne Pastures New 2024 .pdf (2.64 MB)

Pastures New: An exploration of the perceived impact of dairy farm work on the rehabilitation of male prisoners

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posted on 2024-04-04, 06:51 authored by Libby PayneLibby Payne

Supporting the rehabilitative pathways of people with offending histories is complex and requires consideration of alternatives to large scale accredited offending behaviour interventions. Although correctional  practice has seen a proliferation of prison animal programmes over the last two decades, working with farm animals (and dairy cattle specifically) remains understudied. This research explored the perceived impact of dairy farm work on the rehabilitation of male prisoners in an open prisonin the UK.

The first study used an adapted photo elicitation interview approach to understand the experiences of a man with a violent offending history who had worked as a prison dairy worker for over a year prior to release. The second study used qualitative interviews to understand the experiences of a five member staff group who work alongside the prison dairy workers. Both studies were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis.

Findings revealed that in addition to the specialist dairy husbandry skills obtained, there were many perceived benefits of prison dairy work. Six overarching themes illustrated the  positive relationships the prison dairy workers form with the cows (characterised by understanding, care and empathy) and the intrapersonal and interpersonal benefits of the work. These indicated that prison dairy work has the potential to support  desistance from further offending through the development of an individuals’ strengths and facilitating an identity shift. Further suggestions were made across prison policy,research, methodology and forensic psychology practice. The thesis  concluded that this important area of correctional practice has wider value (outside of employability) and should not be summarily dismissed. 



  • School of Sport and Health Sciences

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

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  • PhD

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