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Voices of Prison: Phenomenologizing motivations for change and reformation of cisgender women and LGBT Filipino detainees

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posted on 2023-08-08, 14:13 authored by SALVACION VILLAFUERTESALVACION VILLAFUERTE


Sexual orientation and gender identity are among the least of considerations in facing life sentences for crimes committed. Prison experiences differ among cisgender and transgender affecting motivations for change and reformation. This phenomenological inquiry aims to capture the lived experiences of 21 Filipino detainees (aged 21-59), disaggregated to: 10 cisgender women, 3 lesbians, 4 gays, 2 bisexual women, 1 bisexual man and 1 transwoman. Using an interview guide, the narratives were subjected to vertical and horizontal analyses yielding a set of emerging themes that describe what the cisgender women and LGBT detainees consider to be their motivations for change and reformation. The emergent taxonomy depicts three motivational frames which structure the mindset of the detainees in their drive for change and reformation: Maturation Motivational frame, Ministration Motivational frame and Management Motivational frame. These three frames are crucial perspectives developed from their pre-prison states, peri-prison states and post-prison expectations. This paper contributes to the knowledge base on Gender and Development and LGBT psychology. Additionally, the findings of this qualitative inquiry deepen the understanding of reformative care and gender-specific prison management in the Philippines and may assist in promoting the mental health and well-being of Filipino detainees.




Declaration of conflicts of interest


Corresponding author email

Lead author country

  • Philippines

Lead author job role

  • Practitioner/Professional

Lead author institution

Bicol University

Human Participants

  • Yes

Ethics statement

This research was screened and approved by a local university’s technical and ethical review committee. Further, another approval was obtained from the regional director of BJMP and the endorsement of the city jail warden. A consultative-dialogue with the jail warden, the inmates’ social welfare officer and the assigned jail officer, was conducted before the researcher was allowed to have access with the identified cisgender women and LGBT detainees. Informed consent of the participants were sought prior to their engagement and agreement to take part in the research.

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