This book offers a unique analysis of paramilitary imprisonment in Northern Ireland. The central focus of the book is the struggle between inmates and the state concerning the prisoners' assertion of their status as political prisoners. Drawing upon interviews with former Republican and Loyalist prisoners as well as prison managers and staff, this book locates that experience within the broader theoretical literature on imprisonment. Four forms of prison resistance
are examined by which prisoners asserted their political status. Dirty protest and hunger strike are characterised as resistance through self sacrifice. Violence, destruction and intimidation are examined as prison resistance becoming an extension of armed struggle. Escape is analysed as a form of
resistance through ridicule. And finally law is considered as instrumental resistance and a dialogical process with a range of audiences.
The book then considers a range of prison management adopted by the prison authorities. `Reactive Containment' is described as a military-led model of management which incapacitated the terrorist `enemy' but acknowledged the political character of the inmates. `Criminalization' is viewed as a strategy designed to deny any practical or symbolic acceptance of the political motivation of prisoners. `Managerialism', it is argued, encompasses a series of scientific discourses to rationalise
conflicting interactions with prisoners, from pragmatic accommodations to a dogged determination to prevent further recognition of de facto political status. The book concludes with an analysis of the early release of paramilitary prisoners and the conflict resolution process and some reflections on
political prisons as spaces both during and after a political conflict.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 440
Weight: 639 g
Dimensions: 224 x 145 x 29 mm
Although ostensibly a study of paramilitary imprisonment in Northern Ireland, McEvoy's work will be of great interest to a much wider readership than criminologists. The book provides insights into far wider aspects of the Northern Ireland problem and is an impressive piece of scholarship. The extensive interview data are illuminating and well utilised ... an impressive book. * Irish Political Studies *
The main focus of the book is a very welcome and valuable contribution to the literature on Northern Ireland. McEvoy's analysis of the tactics employed by republican prisoners in their quest for the reintroduction of political status post 1976 is both absorbing and convincing. * Irish Political Studies *
... significant and unique study ... needs to be read by any serious student of the Northern Ireland Troubles. * Irish Studies Review *
This in an outstanding ... contribution to the prisons literature. It serves as an important piece of history, but more important, as a fully sociological and original analysis of strategies of coping, management, control and resistance. * Alison Leibling, British Journal of Criminology, Vol. 42/3, *