The quality of life of convicted persons in prisons in Serbia affects not only their life in prison but also their life and position after release from prison. Consequently, it is essential to consider the emerging forms of quality of prison life, the factors that determine it, and the methods of improving.
The PrisonLIFE project is designed to help us identify and understand the most influential factors, specific forms and aspects of quality of life in prisons in Serbia, as well as to provide opportunities for its measurement, monitoring, and improvement.
PrisonLIFE research scope and project goal
Imprisonment has a profound effect and far-reaching consequences on the lives of convicted persons and their families and on the wider community. The success of the execution of a prison sentence depends on several subjective and objective factors. The PrisonLIFE project focuses on the quality of prison life as a major factor in the success of sentence execution and the corrective treatment in prison.
The project aims to identify criminological-penological, psychological, sociological, legal, and security aspects of the quality of prison life in Serbia to understand the contemporary experience of imprisonment and reach its objective assessment and improvement. Additional emphasis is placed on the population of female convicts, considering their multiple vulnerabilities and often overlooked positions in the research on convicted individuals.
Theoretical concept and methodology
The PrisonLIFE project addresses fundamental aspects of the quality of prison life in Serbia and explores ways to enhance it in a transdisciplinary manner. The exploratory and comparative research is directed towards differences in the quality of prison life associated with the sociodemographic, criminological, and penological characteristics of the convicted individuals. The project also assesses possibilities for improving the quality of prison life from criminological-penological, psychological, sociological, legal, and security perspectives.
To examine the quality of prison life, the Measuring the Quality of Prisoner Life survey (MQPL) will be culturally and linguistically adapted for use in the Serbian penal system, with the support of the first author of the MQPL survey, Professor Alison Liebling, director the Prisons Research Centre at the Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University.
Expected project results
The identification of crucial aspects of the quality of prison life in Serbia is expected, along with an understanding of the influencing factors and the development of a precise instrument for its measurement. The project will initiate changes in the prevailing negative attitudes toward the rehabilitation of convicted persons and support developing consistent legal solutions and responsible evidence-based public policy and practice.
Significance for Serbia and the global scientific community
For the first time in Serbia, the research team is addressing the direct and indirect impacts of factors on the quality of life of convicted men and women. The results will provide a basis for preventive measures and improvement in prison life. The PrisonLIFE project establishes the foundation for a reliable assessment of the quality of prison life, making Serbia a leader in the region in this field.
The leading participating Scientific and Research Organization – Institute of Criminological and Sociological Research
Institute of Criminological and Sociological Research has more than six decades-long research tradition. As a reputable scientific and research organization, the Institute studies the aetiology, phenomenology, and prevention of crime and social deviations, and, to date, dozens of fundamental and applied scientific research in criminology and related disciplines have resulted in recommendations for legal and public policy reform and development of new programs and intervention strategies.
The PrisonLIFE project is supported by the Science Fund of the Republic of Serbia, Grant No. 7750249, Project title: Assessment and possibilities for improving the quality of prison life of prisoners in the Republic of Serbia: Criminological-penological, psychological, sociological, legal and security aspects.