Is prison work useful for rehabilitation? A study based on the opinions of inmates in the prisons of Catalonia

Ramón de Alós Moner, Antonio Martín Artiles, Fausto Miguélez Lobo, Francesc Gibert Badia

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11 Citations (Scopus)


This paper is based on a research project carried out by the «Centre de Recerca del Treball i la Vida Quotidiana» (QUIT) of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona on prison work in Catalonia. Our starting hypotheses were as follows: working and learning a trade contribute to reintegration into the labour market and thereby to the future social integration of inmates; and the more resources the penitentiary system in question provides, the better it will fulfil the duty that society entrusts to it. For the basis of our study we used a representative survey of inmates who work in the nine prisons of Catalonia. In addition, we conducted in-depth interviews with experts and people in charge of the penitentiary system, and visited various prison workshops to observe the inmates at work and conduct interviews with them. The result of the study has allowed us to confirm that prison work acquires several functions. Firstly, it provides inmates with earnings that enable them to meet personal or family needs. Working in prison allows them to make better use of their time and helps to avoid conflictive situations. It also provides working habits and improves social relationships. In spite of the fact that only a few of the jobs enable inmates to learn a trade, they appreciate the work they do inasmuch as it helps them to «normalise» everyday life in prison, while at the same time offering them prospects for future reintegration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-31
JournalRevista Espanola de Investigaciones Sociologicas
Issue number127
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2009


  • Learning a trade
  • Opinion of inmates
  • Rehabilitation
  • Social reintegration
  • Socialisation
  • Work in prison


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