English summaries

English Summaries (06/2015)

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Anna-Maija Pirttilä-Backman, Laura Menard, Mia Silfver-Kuhalampi & Liisa Myyry

Prison theatre: An enabler of change?

Prison theatre is a new form of rehabilitation in Finland. This study examines the effect of prison theatre on the participants and prison guards by interviewing prisoners (= 8) who took part in two prison theatre projects directed by the non-governmental organization Taittuu ry, and prison guards (= 11) working in the prisons at the time of the projects. In the interviews the participants reported, among other things, increased openness and courage, improved self-esteem, increased appreciation towards others, overcoming fear and enhanced ability to function as positive effects of the prison theatre. The results resonate with prison theatre studies conducted abroad. The prison guards viewed the impact on the prisoners mainly as positive or neutral. The experience of exceeding oneself, receiving positive feedback, the influence of a professional theatre director and peer pressure were seen as the biggest contributors to a positive change. However, the change was not thought to be long-lasting. They did not think that the prison theatre had an impact on the content of their work or the work community. The long-term effects of the prison theatre have not been studied as the piloting program is still ongoing, but both foreign studies and our results indicate that prison theatre has considerable potential for affecting change.

Keywords: prison theatre, effectiveness, rehabilitation, change

Johanna Kronstedt-Rousi & Riikka Kotanen

Cause–effect–responsibility? The parties of sexual crime as responsible actors discussed in the opinion column in Helsingin Sanomat

This study has examined how responsibility in sexual crimes has been constructed and distributed in opinion pieces published in the opinion column section of the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. Opinion pieces (N = 73) were analyzed using attribution theory as the theoretical background to studying the reasons behind, explanations for and distribution of responsibility in sexual crimes such as rape. The research questions we examine in this article are 1) how are the conceptions concerning responsibility constructed in the opinion pieces where reasons and explanations for sexual crimes are produced, 2) who is held responsible and 3) how do the conceptions concerning responsibility vary in relation to who is held responsible for the crime. In the opinion pieces the responsibility for sexual crimes was mainly distributed to the offender, the victim and society. The analysis show that while the discussion concerning the offender’s responsibility for rape was limited to the time the rape occurred, the victim’s area of responsibility entailed both behavior and agency/activity before, during and after the crime. The primary responsibility of society was to punish the offender in a fair and just manner. This was a responsibility society was seen to have failed to carry out. Society was also held accountable for crime prevention in the form of keeping citizens safe, rehabilitating sex offenders and helping the victim.

Keywords: sexual crime, responsibility, attribution theory, crime victim, society