1st Edition

Prison Policy in Ireland Politics, Penal-Welfarism and Political Imprisonment

By Mary Rogan Copyright 2011
    264 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    264 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book is the first examination of the history of prison policy in Ireland. Despite sharing a legal and penal heritage with the United Kingdom, Ireland’s prison policy has taken a different path. This book examines how penal-welfarism was experienced in Ireland, shedding further light on the nature of this concept as developed by David Garland. While the book has an Irish focus, it has a theoretical resonance far beyond Ireland. This book investigates and describes prison policy in Ireland since the foundation of the state in 1922, analyzes and assesses the factors influencing policy during this period and explores and examines the links between prison policy and the wider social, economic, political and cultural development of the Irish state.

    It also explores how Irish prison policy has come to take on its particular character, with comparatively low prison numbers, significant reliance on short sentences and a policy-making climate in which long periods of neglect are interspersed with bursts of political activity all prominent features.

    Drawing on the emerging scholarship of policy analysis, the book argues that it is only through close attention to the way in which policy is formed that we will fully understand the nature of prison policy. In addition, the book examines the effect of political imprisonment in the Republic of Ireland, which, until now, has remained relatively unexplored.

    This book will be of special interest to students of criminology within Ireland, but also of relevance to students of comparative criminal justice, criminology and criminal justice policy making in the UK and beyond.

    1. Understanding Prison Policy: The Sociology of Punishment and Policy-Making  2. Prison Policy in Ireland from Independence to 'the Emergency' - Civil War and Conservative Administration  3. Prison Policy 'the Emergency': the Recurring Effects of Subversion and Stagnation  4. Prison Policy during the 1950s: Low Numbers and Limited Interest  5. Prison Policy during the 1960s: 'Solo runs' and Social Change  6. Prison Policy in the 1970s: Subversion, Suspicion and Tension  7. Prison Policy during the 1980s  8. Prison Policy during the 1990s: The Crucial Decade  9. Prison Policy since 2000 and Beyond  10. Conclusion: Unravelling the Nature of Irish Prison Policy


    Mary Rogan is Lecturer in Socio-Legal Studies at Dublin Institute of Technology. Her research interests include prison policy, criminal justice policy-making, penal reform, prison law, penal politics and the history of punishment. She is a qualified barrister and current Chairperson of the Irish Penal Reform Trust.

    '...the breadth of the historical analysis within this book allows for a wider view of the role that prisons have played in state security.'

    '[Rogan's] book is an important contribution to the growing canon of criminological research in Ireland. It is also provides a fascinating historical overview that reminds one of the relevance of history to the present.'
    -Dr Nicola Carr, Queen’s University Belfast, in the Irish Probation Journal, vol 8 Oct 2011

    'Rogan’s analysis is most intriguing in her ability to tell the history of ideas about prisons within Irish policy circles. In a sense, this text is as much an intellectual history of prisons in Ireland as it is a political or criminological study of these institutions.The best example of this involves the elusive idea that rehabilitation of the offender can be the primary function of incarceration. Rogan deftly demonstrates how rehabilitation as a concept served multiple functions in the development of Irish prison policy over time (including those epochs in which rehabilitation fell from grace as the organizing principle for incarceration in the state). Further, Rogan’s analysis is exhaustive in its identification and consideration of the myriad factors contributing to these ideas (most notably, political prisoners and the state’s ability to finance its prisons), and how those ideas were brought to bear on legislation and policy through the efforts of change agents. These strengths are impressive, and function to set Rogan’s work apart from others whose scholarship examines and critiques penal policy in Ireland...'

    '...this critical study will enrich and enliven undergraduate and graduate seminars on prisons and political culture in Ireland and comparative criminal justice in the U.K., Europe, and the U.S....a pleasure to read.'
    -Taja-Nia Y. Henderson, Rutgers School of Law in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books, posted May 2012

    "The fluid and compelling prose in the book brings the intracacies of policy formation and the unique aspects of Irish politics and culture to life. It outlines the colourful context in which Irish penal policy took shape - from the widepsread use of confinement by non-state institutions, to mass releases to celebrate religious occasions and audacious helicopter escapes. The thorough analysis provides a useful historical narratives and reinserts the question of agency into broader discussions about the socio-economic and cultural context of policy formation."— Roisin Mulgrew, Punishment & Society