“You're all so close you might as well sit in a circle…” carceral geographies of intimacy and comfort in the prison visiting room

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  • Northumbria University Newcastle


This paper considers the intimate exchanges taking place in a space whose public/private designation is indistinct; the prison visiting room. Drawing on extensive research with serving prisoners, their visitors, and prison staff in the UK, and using as an interpretive lens recent geographical conceptualisations of comfort as affective complex, it seeks to better understand how the spaces provided for prison visitation affect the ‘doing’ of intimacy in ways that arguably detract from the potential benefits of prison visitation in supporting the wellbeing of both prisoners and visitors. The paper suggests that the bodily practices involved in achieving comfort-as-condition-of-possibility may simultaneously undermine the propensity for the resultant corporeal comfort to deliver this effect.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-194
Number of pages16
JournalGeografiska Annaler. Series B. Human Geography
Issue number3
Early online date5 Jun 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Jun 2018