The Implications of the doctrine of Joint Enterprise in England on families of imprisoned youth in phenomenological analysis

Masters Thesis

George, T. 2019. The Implications of the doctrine of Joint Enterprise in England on families of imprisoned youth in phenomenological analysis. Masters Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University School of Human and Life Science
AuthorsGeorge, T.
TypeMasters Thesis
Qualification nameMSc by Reasearch

This dissertation concerns the implications of the doctrine of Joint Enterprise (JE) upon the family members and friends of those imprisoned by it. Reviewing the existing literature identified a research gap surrounding the attitudes and perceptions of this group with regards to JE and the impacts of a perceived Miscarriage of Justice (MOJ) following a JE conviction. Semi structured interviews were conducted with eight participants, all of whom were related or very close to individuals imprisoned under JE. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was applied to the qualitative data and the findings provided some unexpected results.

Overwhelmingly, the participants were unaware of JE and perceived the Criminal Justice System (CJS) as effective and just, prior to their relative’s conviction. Following the conviction, all the participants viewed the doctrine as inadequate and in need of reform and viewed the CJS as illegitimate. Additionally, the participants felt the prosecution acted unreasonably but perceived the police as fair and professional. The study’s findings were in accordance with previous literature and found that demographics such as ethnicity, age, and socio-economic status influenced the decision to utilise JE, demonstrating disproportionality within the CJS. Significantly, the majority of the participants reported a change in their relationship with their imprisoned relative. Some reported irreversible damage, whilst others believed that this perceived MOJ brought them closer together and strengthened their relationship. Since the participants’ encounter with JE and their subsequent reflections on the doctrine, they were able to raise awareness of the implications of JE and educate the wider community regarding the perceived injustice of JE. Communication of the perceived MOJ through their negative perceptions of JE and the CJS enabled a transfer throughout the community and influenced individuals’ perceptions, thus creating ‘signal harms’.

This dissertation concludes by acknowledging the limitations of this research and offers suggestions for further research. Lastly, recommendations are made offering solutions to these implications and proposals for policy and procedural change are presented.

KeywordsJoint Enterprise; Implications; Attitudes; Perceptions
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:Cohen,H.
Supplemental file
Publication process dates
Deposited20 May 2020
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