Long Haul Remorse:The Continuous Performance of Repentance throughout Prison Sentences

Dr Maggie Hall1, Dr  Kate Rossmanith1

1Western Sydney University, Penrith, Australia

Remorse scholarship commonly focuses on short-term presentations of remorse in court, based on the behaviour of the accused up to and including the court hearing. But assessments of behaviour in custody are continuously made, culminating in parole authorities  determination of  suitability for conditional release. While programs based on correctional psychology do not mention “remorse”, we ask whether concepts such as “victim empathy” and “accountability” do the same work. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in the New South Wales criminal justice system between 2009-2018 we show that, far from a temporally limited event, remorse is a “Long Haul” process continuing throughout the sentence.


Maggie Hall, PhD, is a Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences at Western Sydney University. She is a criminologist, criminal lawyer and social worker with a national and developing international reputation for her research into criminal justice and prisons. Taking a multidisciplinary approach strongly grounded in legal and social work practice, her work foregrounds the experience of the subjects of criminal justice. Her monograph The Lived Sentence (2017) is part of the highly regarded Prisons series published by Palgrave MacMillan.


Dec 10 2021