Unlocking a Locked-down Regime: The Role of Penal Policy and Administration in Northern Irelandand the Challenges of Change

Azrini Wahidin, Linda Moore, Una Convery

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Abstract

The aim of this article is to examine the impact of the Conflict on thedevelopment and character of the prison system in Northern Ireland. It traces the use ofimprisonment to repress challenges to the legitimacy of the State, and the ways in whichprisoners and communities have resisted oppressive penal policies. Evidence is presentedthat notwithstanding the peace process and early release of most politically-motivatedprisoners, regimes within the North’s three prison establishments remain heavily influencedby the experience of violence, with a prioritisation of security over care andrehabilitation. The establishment, in 2010, of an independent Prison Review led byDame Anne Owers, has presented an opportunity to address the underlying problemswithin the prison system. The article concludes by exploring the implications of theNorthern Ireland experience for other transitional jurisdictions undergoing penalreform.
LanguageEnglish
Pages458-473
JournalThe Howard Journal of Criminal Justice
Volume51
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012

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correctional institution
regime
peace process
Ireland
jurisdiction
legitimacy
experience
violence
community
evidence

Cite this

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abstract = "The aim of this article is to examine the impact of the Conflict on thedevelopment and character of the prison system in Northern Ireland. It traces the use ofimprisonment to repress challenges to the legitimacy of the State, and the ways in whichprisoners and communities have resisted oppressive penal policies. Evidence is presentedthat notwithstanding the peace process and early release of most politically-motivatedprisoners, regimes within the North’s three prison establishments remain heavily influencedby the experience of violence, with a prioritisation of security over care andrehabilitation. The establishment, in 2010, of an independent Prison Review led byDame Anne Owers, has presented an opportunity to address the underlying problemswithin the prison system. The article concludes by exploring the implications of theNorthern Ireland experience for other transitional jurisdictions undergoing penalreform.",
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