Thesis

155 Experienced outcomes of MCD others. As a result, they show an increased capacity for ‘perspective-taking’, a concept used and explained by Kurdek (1978). We did not yet mention the role of emotions within the process of moral learning, as we did not see it in many of the literature on moral learning or moral development. However, emotions are an important ingredient of reflection processes. Emotions generally strongly influence people’s considerations, and so play a pivotal role in moral decision-making. Hence, also in moral learning processes attention should be given to emotions. Through our emotions, we can learn what is important. Emotions can help guide our thinking and actions, and our thinking can also guide our emotions (Molewijk et al., 2011). To come to constructive decision-making, one needs to be aware of emotions to eventually act consciously (McManus, 2021). Even though MCD is an instrument with a focus on rational reflections, MCD should make use of the knowledge that comes along with our emotions (Molewijk et al., 2011). Our data shows that prison staff during MCD indeed better recognized and understood their emotions and the role of their emotions in complex situations, e.g., to see what is at stake for them. MCD helps prison staff improve their self-awareness with respect to the presence of emotions; some even mention more control of both their emotions and expressions of frustrations. This is in line with what (Van der Dam et al., 2011) mentioned: MCD can alleviate negative emotions. Through MCD, prison staff learned to use emotions constructively during moral decision-making, instead of seeing them an obstacle or only experiencing frustrations about situations. Implications for future ethics support for prison staff There is no consensus on what a good MCD or a sufficient MCD outcome entails (Hartman, 2020, pp. 14–15; Schildmann et al., 2013). However, this is not necessarily problematic. Our outcomes overview may help prison institutions, and mostly DCIA, to reflect on what they perceive as desired MCD outcomes for prison staff. Our data also explains some of the less positive experiences with MCD, e.g., participants mentioning a lack of impact on practice. This creates an opportunity for DCIA to improve the use of ethics support methods or the organization of MCD series in the near future. For example, by developing specific thematic ethics support tools which address moral issues and can contain insights and MCD outcomes in a more practical way (such as ‘building a thematic moral compass’, Snoo-Trimp et al., 2022). Addressing some of the experienced obstacles regarding MCD will improve the conditions for fostering moral learning. 6

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