Article

Photographing prisoners: The unworthy, unpleasant and unchanging criminal body

Details

Citation

Miranda D & Machado H (2019) Photographing prisoners: The unworthy, unpleasant and unchanging criminal body. Criminology & Criminal Justice, 19 (5), pp. 591-604. https://doi.org/10.1177/1748895818800747

Abstract
The use of photography in representing the criminal body has long been a focus of interest in the social sciences, especially so when exploring the historical evolution of criminal identification practices. By contributing to the emerging field of visual criminology, this article explores current practices around photography of prisoners in the everyday contexts of the prison space. Drawing on a qualitative study conducted with prisoners, prison guards and probation officers in three Portuguese prisons, we analyse how different social actors construct the criminal body. This construction is explored through the meanings attributed to prisoners’ photographic portraits used for their identification. In particular, we discuss how their photographic documentation acts as a classification device and a visual representation of the criminal. We argue that this representation, by portraying elements of unworthiness, unpleasantness and immutability, plays a significant role in the parole board’s decisions and produce an embodied sense of identity and perpetuation of stigma.

Keywords
Body; criminality; parole; photography; prison

Journal
Criminology & Criminal Justice: Volume 19, Issue 5

StatusPublished
FundersFundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia and H2020 European Research Council
Publication date30/11/2019
Publication date online20/09/2018
Date accepted by journal08/08/2018
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/34020
PublisherSAGE Publications
ISSN1748-8958
eISSN1748-8966

People (1)

People

Dr Diana Miranda
Dr Diana Miranda

Lecturer in Criminology, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology

Research centres/groups