Now showing 1 - 10 of 22
  • Publication
    Ireland's shrinking prison population
    (Westlaw, 2017-07)
    In an article published in this journal twenty years ago, I predicted that if there was a continuation of the law and order agenda that was being pursued at the time, four inter-related developments were likely to follow. These were: (i) ‘a substantial growth in the size of the prison population’ (ii) ‘an increase in sentence lengths for serious crime together with a growing emphasis on community penalties’ (iii) ‘a concentration of disadvantage and criminal victimisation in a small number of geographically well-defined communities, at the same time as society at large becomes safer and more economically secure’ (iv) ‘a hardening of attitudes in society such that the disadvantaged are blamed for their own misfortune’ Over the ensuing decade these bleak predictions were fulfilled. The prison population grew from a daily average of 2,191 (in 1996) to 3,191 (in 2006), an increase of 46 per cent. The number of prisoners committed to prison for terms of ten years or more (including life) jumped from 10 (in 1994) to 38 (in 2006) and the number of offenders placed on probation or given a Community Service Order (CSO) rose from 2,666 (in 1996) to 2,937 (in 2006), an increase of 10 per cent.
  • Publication
    Conclusion: Explaining coercive confinement in Ireland: Why was the past such a different place?
    (Manchester University Press, 2012-06) ;
    This book provides an overview of the incarceration of tens of thousands of men, women and children during the first fifty years of Irish independence. Psychiatric hospitals, mother and baby homes, Magdalen homes, Reformatory and Industrial schools, prisons and Borstal formed a network of institutions of coercive confinement that was integral to the emerging state. The book provides a wealth of contemporaneous accounts of what life was like within these austere and forbidding places as well as offering a compelling explanation for the longevity of the system and the reasons for its ultimate decline. While many accounts exist of individual institutions and the factors associated with their operation, this is the first attempt to provide a holistic account of the interlocking range of institutions that dominated the physical landscape and, in many ways, underpinned the rural economy. Highlighting the overlapping roles of church, state and family in the maintenance of these forms of social control, this book will appeal to those interested in understanding twentieth-century Ireland: in particular, historians, legal scholars, criminologists, sociologists and other social scientists. These arguments take on special importance as Irish society continues to grapple with the legacy of its extensive use of institutionalisation.
  • Publication
    Prisoner coping and adaptation
    (Oxford University Press, 2016-11)
    The contours of imprisonment have been reshaped over the past 50 years. This chapter explores continuity and change in the pains of confinement, highlighting a variety of ways that prisoners cope with an environment characterised by conflict, disconnection and tedium.
  • Publication
    Criminals, Data Protection and the Right to a Second Chance
    (The Irish Jurist, 2017-11) ;
    In 2016 Ireland adopted its first legislation to allow for expungement of adult criminal records and, in doing so, highlighted a changing technological and legal context which challenges the assumptions underlying rehabilitation laws. The potential impact of convictions on individuals' life chances has increased as mandatory vetting has become more widespread. Even where vetting is not required, the practical obscurity of old convictions has been undermined by internet search engines which render criminal histories easily accessible. In the other direction, the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union have developed privacy and data protection principles which require states to limit the availability of information about old convictions. This article outlines the Irish legislation and use it as a case study to consider these wider issues, examining its legal context and how it illustrates the growing importance of European privacy and data protection norms in national criminal justice and rehabilitation systems.
  • Publication
    Criminology, Bureaucracy and Unfinished Business
    (Oxford University Press, 2011-01-27)
    When exploring the interplay of criminology and policy the debate often revolves around the changing influence of the former on the direction of the latter. This debate generally occurs in countries where the discipline is firmly entrenched and the policy context is well understood. But what about when the criminal justice system operates in the absence of a sustained academic critique? How do things appear where criminology is in a fledgling state and where bureaucratic arrangements in respect of criminal justice have an unformed quality? What does the absence of criminology tell us about the possible impact of its presence?
  • Publication
    Making progress with penal reform
    (Round Hall, 2013-07)
    Comments on recommendations by the Sub-Committee on Penal  Reform supporting a reversal of the expansionist approach to imprisonment in Ireland through: (1) the adoption of a decarceration strategy; (2) substituting community service for prison terms of less than six months for non-violent offences; (3) increasing the standard rate of remission; (4) provision of a modern legislative framework for all forms of early release; and (5) a rebalancing of the system, with greater use being made of open prison and all prisoners being held in decent conditions.
  • Publication
    Penal policy in Ireland: The malign effect of sustained neglect
    (Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, 2013-10)
    The article discusses the penal policy of Ireland that is characterised by a collection of lacks along with growing infatuation with the prison. It informs about acceleration in the imprisonment at a rate in Ireland higher than many other comparator countries. Further it discusses the observed trend with Irish Prison Service (IPS) predictions.
  • Publication
    A family affair? English Hangmen and a Dublin jail, 1923-54
    (University of St. Thomas. Center for Irish Studies, 2014-12) ;
    The genealogy of capital punishment in twentieth-century Ireland defies easy articulation, and several aspects of the practice appear especially perplexing in the absence of an appreciation of a precise historical context. It is puzzling, for instance, that Irish politicians couched arguments favoring the retention of capital punishment in terms of its perceived efficacy as a deterrent to potential subversives when the death penalty was imposed almost exclusively for non-political civilian murder. It is puzzling, too, that the taoisigh and ministers who were prepared to allow executions go ahead had not only been comrades with men executed during the revolutionary period, but in some cases, had themselves been sentenced to death. It is puzzling that the sanction was retained after Independence when one considers the "politicization" of capital punishment and the attendant public antipathy toward what was seen as an unfortunate colonial (and civil war) legacy; in the minds of many nationalists, hanging was nothing more than a manifestation of English tyranny. And, finally, it is puzzling that when the need arose to execute a condemned person in Ireland an English hangman was always contracted to arrange the "drop." This final puzzle may, however, be illuminated by a detailed examination of the men who discharged this grisly function.
  • Publication
    Killing in Ireland at the turn of the centuries: contexts, consequences and civilizing processes
    (Manchester University Press, 2010-12)
    Late nineteenth-century homicides in Ireland had several distinctive characteristics. They took place in every county, were largely a male preserve, and regularly involved elderly victims. Heavy drinking was a factor in many lethal squabbles and workplace disputes sometimes resulted in impulsive, but savage, attacks. Weapon use was uncommon and the range of penalties imposed by the courts was wide. In the closing decade of the twentieth century the overall level of homicide was lower and had become concentrated in and around the major cities. Victims were younger, shootings and stabbings were much more prevalent and sentences were significantly more severe. Alcohol continued to play an important role. This paper sets out what can be gleaned from official sources about the circumstances of killing on the island of Ireland during two decades separated by one hundred years. The emphasis is on the earlier period where, perhaps surprisingly, more complete police records are available. The analysis offers support for the theory of a civilizing process as advanced by Norbert Elias, integral to which is the proposition that spontaneous displays of aggression become less common over time.
  • Publication
    Frontal lobes and older sex offenders: a preliminary investigation
    We tested the hypothesis that frontal lobe changes are associated with sexual offending in older men by administering frontal lobe tests to 50 older men incarcerated for sexual offences and to 50 older controls who were in prison for other crimes. This was part of a wider study on the psychiatric and personality characteristics of sexual offenders (Fazel et al., 2002). The control group was chosen in order to attempt to account for non-specific offender effects, and allow for comparison with demographic variables that might confound any potential association.
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