Relationship during the time of imprisonment changes for the convicted person as well as his or her partner. Prison is a special type of institution - a total one, which is separated from wider society and isolates its residents. Everyday life in a total institution is a routine which satisfies the needs of the institution rather than those of an individual, therefore affecting the individual's personality. The total institution thus affects the relationship and interaction between two people. Key changes in a relationship in the context of imprisonment are: altered communication between partners, lack of regular sexual intercourse, scarcity of mutual trust, replaced roles in the relationship and economic problems.
The main purpose of this thesis is to study and explore the relationship at the time of imprisonment, especially from the point of view of the convicted person and his/her partner. The thesis is comprised of theoretical and empirical part. The theoretical part introduces findings and researches of different authors about prison, relationship and partnership in the context of imprisonment. The empirical part includes couples’ point of view and their experience. Partially-structured interview was used and the data was qualitatively processed by the means of coding which was the basis for the theory development.
The ground findings of the research are: relationship at the time of imprisonment is a very difficult experience, partners would wish for better visiting and overnight stay conditions, prison does not offer enough help and support regarding the mentioned problems. The interviewees also agreed on the overburdening of a partner (who is not in prison), however, partners are experiencing each other quite differently. The convicted person, his/her partner and consequently their relationship change during the imprisonment. It is evident from the interviewees that the longer the sentence, the more time the partners need to get used to the change (and vice versa). I point out both positive and negative changes. Among the positive changes are striving for relationship, a stronger sense of emotional connection and more time for talking. The most common among the negative changes are financial difficulties, fear and replaced roles in the relationship.