Thesis

18 Chapter 1 2019; Metselaar et al., 2015) or do not include a detailed description of what the general concept of moral learning entails (as seen in e.g., Stolper et al., 2012). In general, measuring effects of a complex intervention on ESS shows to be highly difficult (Schildmann et al., 2019; Svantesson et al., 2014). A challenge within the current empirical research on MCD is that there are many variable conditions. For example, the group of participants are different at each MCD session during research of series of MCD sessions (see, e.g., Janssens et al., 2015) or different conversation methods of MCD and different MCD facilitators with different amount of training are used in MCD evaluation research (see, e.g., De Snoo-Trimp et al., 2020). Furthermore, the involved prison staff did not have experience with explicit, joint and facilitated moral reflections regarding their practice, whereas previous studies on the impact of MCD are often based on sessions with participants who have had prior experience with moral reflection or even with the instrument of MCD. This is shown in the MCD outcomes study EURO-MCD as developed and used in the studies of Svantesson et al. (2014) and De Snoo-Trimp et al. (2020). RESEARCH AIMS AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS This thesis aims to assess the value of MCD in the specific context of working in prisons. Overall, empirical research on the ethics of working in prisons is not yet common as research is often hindered by the ‘difficult-to-access prison environment’ (Shaw et al., 2014). Professional ethics is an understudied topic in the context of prisons, unfortunately. Even more uncommon is research that takes the perspectives of prison staff themselves into account. There is as no literature on the moral dilemmas occurring while working in prison based on the perspectives and experiences of prison staff of different disciplines. In line with the earlier mentioned aims of DCIA, we want to give a voice to prison staff by collecting and analyzing self-perceived moral dilemmas from their practice. Next, we aim to evaluate how prison staff and the MCD facilitators experience the MCD sessions to gain insights about aspects that possibly influence MCD experiences, both positively and negatively. Unlike most current studies on MCD, as mentioned above, we aim to have regulated conditions of the MCD sessions in our research and to enhance insights on the evaluations of single sessions and a series of MCD sessions. Internationally, this is the first time MCD has been structurally implemented and researched with prison staff.

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