THE DILEMMA OF IMPLEMENTING INTERACTIVE WORK IN THE FINNISH PRISON SERVICE
|Tekijät:||Heidi Kajander|| |
Finnish prison and probation services are provided by the Criminal Sanc-tions Agency. The Agency operates under the direction of the Ministry of Justice. Since 2013, the Finnish prison service has been going through chan-ges brought about by the Agency´s development strategy. The strategy pro-poses that prison officers perform a growing number of specialized tasks with prisoners, such as coaching and social planning, in addition to their custodial tasks, which include supervising prisoners´ daily activities, receiving and pro-cessing new prisoners into prisons and dealing with any disruptions in the prison, to name a few. The Agency has labelled the new work approach as `interactive work´ (Kari 2016). The aim of implementing interactive work into the prison officer´s role is to improve the overall rehabilitative clima-te in Finnish prisons by increasing rehabilitation-oriented interaction bet-ween prisoners and prison officers. A few recent studies in Finland suggest, however, that Finnish prison officers, especially in closed prisons, find the interactive work approach unnecessary, complicated and situation-specific (Linderborg et al. 2015; Ylisassi et al. 2016). According to staff, the Agency´s organizational culture decelerates the implementation of interactive work by being hierarchical in nature (Ylisassi et al. 2016).
To obtain a broader understanding of why Finnish prison officers percei-ve the change in their role as unnecessary and complicated is of importance, especially when examining what lies beneath the resistance to change. The-refore, the primary objective of this research is to explore how prison officers feel about the implementation of the interactive work approach, and a secon-dary objective is to investigate what factors, if any, possibly prevent prison of-ficers from integrating the interactive work approach into their occupational roles. A third objective is to explore how the Agency could better support the implementation of the interactive work approach. Using the qualitative research method, two focus groups and thirteen individual interviews are fa-cilitated with a semi-structured question list. The participants are a conveni-ence-sampled group of twenty-six prison officers. Iterative thematic content analysis of data provides a rich and detailed account of the data collected. Organizational development suggestions are discussed in the discussion.