Ajaz Ahmad Gilani

Research Scholar

Department of Sociology

Delhi School of Economics

University of Delhi




This article portrays an account of my experiences in doing research in one of the oldest jails of Jammu and Kashmir. Prison as an institution holds a mixture of people. One group among this mixture are those of under-trial prisoners. These under-trial prisoners constitute a majority of the prison population and the focus of my study lies primarily on them. In this article, I run through the challenges that I came across in the field. My firsthand account of how I gained access to the prison setting and the process of collection of data are vital since these provide an insight for other scholars preparing to conduct research on prisons. Interviewing a category of people who have been kept away from the mainstream society is a difficult task. The paper describes how the participants were selected and the process of interviewing. Subsequently, I will draw suggestions from my experience of researching in prison, which will act as a guide for future researchers to conduct study on prisons.

Keywords: Prison, prisoner, under-trial, ethnography, imprisonment, jail, jail-staff.

Ethnographic Research in Prison:

Descriptions, observations and suggestions from the field