Qualitative Study of Legitimacy in Slovenian Prisons

  • Rok HacinEmail author
  • Gorazd Meško
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Criminology book series (BRIEFSCRIMINOL)


The qualitative part of the study involved conducting structured interviews with prisoners, prison workers, and senior managers in all Slovenian prisons and the correctional home. The sample of prisoners (193) presents 16.5% of the average number of prisoners in 2015. Prisoners associated the legitimacy of the prison staff with legality and fairness of procedures applied against them. They also pointed to the differences in treatment received by some prisoners. However, they appreciated the humane approach and good relations which prison workers generally employed. The sample of prison workers (139) presents 18.2% of the average number of prison workers in 2015. Prison workers self-legitimacy was dependent on good relations with colleagues, supervisors’ fair and equal decisions, and good relations with prisoners. They also articulated negative aspects of their work, which often resulted in burnout. The sample of senior managers (12) presents 21.4% of the average number of managerial workers in 2015. Senior managers were aware of their dependence on prison workers‘ recognition of power. Consequently, they were striving to enforce a democratic style of leadership, based on the act of establishing good relations with their subordinates. Moreover, they highlighted the importance of quality of relations between themselves and prisoners for the day-to-day operation of prisons (specifics of Slovenian [small] prisons enable them more frequent and intensive relationships).


Fairness Legality Equal treatment Prison staff–prisoners relations Leadership 


  1. Uprava Republike Slovenije za izvrševanje kazenskih sankcij [URSIKS]. (2016). Letno poročilo 2015. Ljubljana: Uprava Republike Slovenije za izvrševanje kazenskih sankcij.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Criminal Justice and SecurityUniversity of MariborMariborSlovenia

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