Immagini dietro le sbarre: l’utilizzo della fotografia per lo sviluppo dell’intelligenza emotiva dei detenuti

Emanuela Saita, Monica Accordini, Valentina Fenaroli


Images Behind Bars: Using Photography to Develop Prisoners’ Emotional Intelligence

The present paper describes an intervention using photographic techniques within treatment programs addressed to inmates with the aim of promoting their re-socialization and reeducation. This intervention aims at favoring the development of emotional intelligence (EI), conceived as the ability to understand and recognize one’s own and other people’s emotional states; scientific literature proved an association between EI, a reduction of recidivism and an increased well-being among the prison population. Photographic techniques are extremely suitable instruments  capable of overcoming linguistic and cultural barriers as well as potential individual resistances and proved to be useful in allowing symbolic contents, connected to emotional states, beliefs and perceptions, to emerge. The above mentioned intervention included a number of group meetings; this setting allows learning, self-reflection while promoting exchange and self-growth. The sessions’ structure is such to allow the accomplishment of both, the more general aim (EI development) as well as specific aims, tailored for different categories of inmates. For example, convicts sentenced to medium/short-term detention should be helped in their rehabilitation process after release, while those with longer-term detention need help in accepting their sentence and adapting to prison life. The last part of the article discusses about the possible ways to assess this intervention in order to develop an evaluation protocol that could be generalized and applied to different contexts.


Penitentiary context; emotional intelligence (EI); phototherapy; group setting

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