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

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This article considers the changing dynamics of incarceration in the North of Ireland following its emergence from three decades of war. Against a backdrop of the Conflict’s legacy, it analyses the Prison Service’s failure to transform. 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 was a central pillar in transitioning from war to peace, it demonstrates the failure of the State’s rhetorical commitment to prisoners’ rights. Given the centrality of political-economic investment in rights principles in progressing ‘conflict resolution’ it 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 imprisonment progressed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman Rights and Incarceration
Subtitle of host publicationCritical Explorations
EditorsElizabeth Stanley
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9783319953991
ISBN (Print)9783319953984
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan


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