Going home for Christmas: Prisoners, a taste of freedom and the press

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Title: Going home for Christmas: Prisoners, a taste of freedom and the press
Authors: O'Donnell, Ian
Jewkes, Yvonne
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/6269
Date: Feb-2011
Online since: 2014-12-23T12:57:44Z
Abstract: This article explores the extent to which prisoners in the UK and Republic of Ireland are permitted to leave prison to join their families for the Christmas festivities. It is argued that the willingness to allow such absences provides insights into divergent penal policies and contrasting socio-cultural attitudes towards prisoners and imprisonment (and, tangentially, the meaning of Christmas). In the Republic of Ireland the use of temporary release (TR) for Christmas – although in decline – has been largely uncontroversial. Even when addressing prisoners who fail to return at the end of their leave, press coverage tends to be discreet and factual. Very different in style and tone are newspapers in the UK which tend only to report prisoner release schemes if the stories can be linked to themes of recidivism, pampered (and dangerous) prisoners and misplaced political correctness. Here the granting of a taste of freedom is characterised by a strong belief in the 19th-Century principle of 'less eligibility' and the implication that prison inmates are an undeserving underclass who should be shown no goodwill at any time of the year.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Wiley
Journal: The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice
Volume: 50
Issue: 1
Start page: 75
End page: 91
Copyright (published version): 2010 the Authors, the Howard League and Blackwell Publishing
Keywords: PrisonersEarly releaseRedemptionLess eligibilityPolitical culture
DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2311.2010.00646.x
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Law Research Collection

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