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Prison crime-terror nexus – factors influencing its existence

Exploring factors promoting, inhibiting and influencing the identification of the prison crime-terror nexus.

Key details

Lead institution
Principal researcher(s)
Hannah Bennett
Police region
Level of research
Project start date
Date due for completion

Research context

There are gaps, inconsistencies and uncertainties in current crime-terror nexus theories. There is also insufficient academic research on the phenomenon in the prison environment.

This means the existence, nature and extent of a potentially harmful relationship in the prison setting remains not understood and unquantified.

Due to its exploratory character, this research did not set off with precise initial hypotheses. Instead, it was designed to explore this complex, emergent phenomenon in the prison environment by investigating the factors that influence and inhibit any prison crime-terror nexus and why it is so complex.

Professionals, front-line practitioners and prisoners took part in this research. They draw on their own direct experience and views of any nexus. They argue that the prison crime-terror nexus is very nuanced and several factors influence any crime-terror interaction.

Research question

The overall research question is, what factors influence the existence of any prison crime-terror nexus?

To enable a more focused investigation of the overarching study aims, three subsidiary questions will be addressed.

  1. What factors promote the existence of any prison crime-terror nexus?
  2. What factors inhibit the existence of any crime-terror nexus inside prison?
  3. Why is identifying any existence of the prison crime-terror nexus complex?

Research methodology

The subsidiary questions were used to frame the research. The focus was on interviewing professionals and front-line practitioners – such as police officers, prison intelligence officers, governors and senior advisors to the government – using a semi-structured approach.

Textual data from prisoner questionnaires and letters was also collected and analysed. This was used to supplement and improve the qualitative findings by providing greater insight into the research questions from a hard-to-reach population.

Get in touch

For any questions about the research, contact Hannah at [email protected]

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