Thesis

141 Experienced outcomes of MCD INTRODUCTION Prison work can lead to high levels of job stress (Finney et al., 2013), i.e., based on the volatile environment and the value conflicts prison staff experience in their practice (Liebling et al., 2011, pp. 63–64). Value conflicts arise, i.e., when the two central objectives of prison work – security and rehabilitation – are pursued at the same time. Research showed that working in prisons inherently involves confrontation with morally challenging situations ((Schaap et al., 2022; van Dijk et al., 2023; White et al., 2014). For good performance, correctional institutions rely heavily on their staff (Lambert et al., 2005). The Dutch Custodial Institutions Agency (DCIA) wanted its prison staff to be more aware of and able to constructively reflect upon moral dilemmas in their practice (DCIA, 2016). Moral dilemmas, a specific category of moral challenges, occur when conflicting values raise doubts regarding the right action (Maclagan, 2003). One report stated Dutch prison staff need support in developing their ability to recognize moral dilemmas and to be trained to avoid acting on improper intuitions (Van Houwelingen et al., 2015, p.41). It advised DCIA to implement a specific instrument for moral learning, such as Moral Case Deliberation (MCD) (Van Houwelingen et al., 2015, pp. 62–63). From 2017 onwards, DCIA offered MCD in their training program to further professionalize staff. In this article, we aim to provide insights into prison staff’s and MCD facilitators’ experienced outcomes of the implemented MCD sessions at DCIA; which MCD-related outcomes do they report and how do these relate to a moral learning process of prison staff? For the first time, MCD was implemented and researched in prisons. Other related articles of our study analyze more in-depth the evaluation of the MCD sessions and the impact of MCD to the moral craftsmanship of prison staff. Current existing literature on MCD and its outcomes is mainly based on health care professionals. In general, the ethics of prison work is an understudied field in empirical research (White et al., 2014). More specifically, there is a lack of research on how to support prison staff in dealing with moral challenges. By analyzing self-reported outcomes, we give a voice to staff in the assessment of the value of MCD for prison work. Before presenting our Methods and Results, we will first describe what MCD and moral learning entail. In the Discussion, we will reflect on whether the reported MCD outcomes show a moral learning process for prison staff, and address related implications for the ethics support of prison staff. 6

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