Behind Closed Doors: An Exploration of Cell-Sharing and its Relationship with Wellbeing

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Increasingly people in prison are sharing cells but little is known about how cell-sharing may influence wellbeing. This research explores this issue using a random stratified survey of 569 imprisoned adult men in Northern Ireland. The findings reveal a relationship between cell-sharing and wellbeing but indicate that cellmate relationships may be more important than cell type in influencing wellbeing. Depending on the nature of cellmate relationships, the findings suggest that cell-sharing can enhance or diminish wellbeing beyond that experienced in single cells. In explaining these findings, it is proposed that cellmate relationships may influence the extent to which individuals feel strain from concealing their emotions and vulnerabilities, receive social support from a cellmate and/or feel safe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-355
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Journal of Criminology
Issue number1
Early online date12 Apr 2021
Publication statusEarly online date - 12 Apr 2021


  • Corrections
  • Cell-Sharing
  • Wellbeing
  • Cellmate Relationships
  • Prisoners
  • Coping


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