Rehabilitating the Prison: The Evolution of Strategies for Dealing with Northern Ireland’s Carceral Heritages

  • Chris Hamill
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology book series (PSIPP)


Northern Ireland’s prisons frequently found themselves on the front lines of conflict during the thirty years of the Troubles. Now shorn of useful purpose and largely abandoned, these examples of carceral heritage pose a critical question on how Northern Ireland deals with the physical remnants of the recent past. The ‘legacy issues’ raised by aspects of the built environment are no less intractable or divisive than those of transitional justice and victimhood, and the very nature of architecture; both its symbolic potency and the sheer size of some of these places render these issues difficult to sweep aside. This chapter focuses on three such sites, namely HMP Maze (aka Long Kesh), HMP Armagh and HMP Belfast in order to plot the evolution of these strategies through time and, by exploring the relevant contexts, to explore why particular approaches were adopted and have changed with the flux of contemporary Northern Irish politics.


Architecture Carceral heritage Legacy issues Politics Northern Ireland 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris Hamill
    • 1
  1. 1.Queen’s University BelfastBelfastUK

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