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From Conflict to ‘Peace’: The Persistent Impact of Human Rights Violations in Northern Ireland’s Prisons

  • Phil Scraton
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology book series (PSIPP)

Abstract

This chapter considers the changing dynamics of incarceration in the North of Ireland following its emergence from three decades of war. Contextualised within the devolution of governing powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly, it considers the critical findings of an independent review of prisons and cumulative negative inspectorate reports, revealing a systemic deficit in prisoners’ rights. In a jurisdiction where human rights constitute a central pillar in transitioning from war to peace, it demonstrates the failure of the State’s rhetorical commitment to prisoners’ rights, and questions whether ‘humane containment’ within ‘healthy prisons’ can be compatible with ‘human rights’. It proposes that investment in community-based initiatives offers a progressive, rights-based framework within which decarceration can be realised and the abolition of mass imprisonment progressed.

Keywords

Conflict transformation Political imprisonment ‘Healthy prisons’ Decarceration Abolition 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Lizzy Stanley for her important, generous comments on the first draft and to Deena Haydon for her constant support and critical reflection. In memory of Ciara McCulloch.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of LawQueen’s UniversityBelfastNorthern Ireland, UK

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