Spotlighting the probation meeting – Lived experiences of desistance-supporting interaction following imprisonmentSylvia Koffeld-Hamidane, Ellen Andvig, Bengt Karlsson, Thomas Ugelvik
Probation staff in Norway are responsible for implementing the continuation of sentences following imprisonment, such as in drug rehabilitation institutions, electronic monitoring, home detention, and early release on parole. The Norwegian Correctional Service aims to support positive change and provide training in change-focused dialogue. However, little is known about the content of meetings between formerly imprisoned persons and probation staff following imprisonment. Our analysis is based on 19 interviews conducted within the first year after release or transition from prison to the community and highlights the participants’ lived experiences of these meetings. We show their perceptions of the value of this dialogue, especially as it delves into the circumstances contributing to the offence, how the offence affects their self-concept and challenging barriers to approaching society. This interaction often developed within sustained relationships. Despite this, some were disappointed with a discrepancy between their longing for help and their experience of control practices. We elaborate on how the interaction facilitates and frustrates desistance processes during resettlement.