Thesis

13 General introduction To stimulate prison staff’s awareness and ability to reflect upon what is good in practice, DCIA initiated a new training program in 2016/2017 for their staff called craftsmanship1. The overall aim of this program by DCIA was to facilitate support and further professional development of their staff (DCIA, 2016a). Together with the above-mentioned challenges of prison work, DCIA wished to address the increased complexity of the practice of prison staff. Specifically, in the Dutch setting, DCIA noticed – in the years before the training program – an increase in reported incidents in the organizations, a change in the population of prisoners (e.g., more psychological problems in non-specialist institutions), and an experienced high work pressure by staff (DCIA, 2016c, 2022; FNV Overheid, 2017, 2020). According to DCIA, the craftsmanship they wish to foster in staff entails an ongoing deliberation between colleagues, discussing doubts and complex considerations encountered in practice. In this way, prison staff can arrive at balanced decisions that can be explained to colleagues and prisoners. The related DCIA report states: ‘The underlying principle is that doubts may be expressed about all daily choices on how to deal with prisoners and colleagues; it is considered to be a quality if staff discuss their doubts’ (DCIA, 2016a). Fostering the moral craftsmanship of prison staff Van Houwelingen et al. (2015, p. 81) reported the absence of ‘moral learning consultations’ for prison staff. Hence, they advised DCIA to implement a method that can strengthen the moral awareness of prison staff. DCIA included an additional aim to their newly developed training program: to develop further the so-called moral craftsmanship of staff (DCIA, 2016a). Moral craftsmanship would entail more transparent and well-considered decision-making processes, which could prevent challenging moral decisions or cases from causing distress to staff and prisoners. According to a group of experts, particularly at DCIA, moral craftsmanship is important because prison staff is expected to set an example and behave responsibly toward prisoners (DCIA Educational Institute, 2014). With the training program, DCIA wanted to stimulate and facilitate a moral learning process for prison staff. Ideally, ‘moral judgment is a central part of prison work’ (DCIA, 2016a). DCIA wanted a new training method to address the why of actions. This could increase staff’s ability to ‘be open and constructive about differences in viewpoints’ (DCIA, 2016a) when discussing the question of ‘how to best act in everchanging situations’ (DCIA, 2016b). The program devoted explicit attention to reflections 1 During this project, research, and in the whole thesis: whenever the term ‘craftsmanship’ is used, please keep in mind that the concept is directed at all genders, not just men. 1

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