Crime, Law and Social Change

, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 293–309 | Cite as

The role of self-help efforts in the reintegration of ‘politically motivated’ former prisoners: implications from the Northern Irish experience



Self-help (or mutual aid) processes play a substantial role in the reintegration of stigmatized individuals, in particular, a substantial self-help movement has developed around addiction recovery. Prisoners and ex-prisoners have also established self-help groups around the world. This paper focuses in particular on the role of self-help principles and practices among “politically motivated” former prisoners from all sides of the Northern Irish conflict. The concept of self-help and its application to former prisoners are analysed theoretically, then applied to the Northern Irish case study through a series of interviews with ex-prisoners whose incarceration has been related to the conflict in Northern Ireland. We draw on the implications of this case study for wider issues of reintegration for politically motivated and ordinary prisoners.


Restorative Justice Experiential Knowledge Project Coordinator Transitional Justice Alcoholic Anonymous 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, School of LawQueen’s University BelfastBelfastNorthern Ireland

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