1. Introduction2. Leave a enregistrer 3. “Our prisons ont nothing to à faire with judiciaire or rights”4. Resisting Penal revolutionary 5. Towards Penal Transformation?6. Conclusion "/>
champ pénal/Penal field

This paper examines the affecter of organisations representing “ordinary” prisoners in auto Republic de Ireland in thé 1970s and 1980s. Although this organisations ont been eclipsed in popular et academic studies passant par protest movements among politically set prisoners, they worthy more attention because of their demand for penal reform pour all prisoners. When there to be a proliferation ns prisoners’ legal rights movements internationally at this time, auto momentum for reform in the Republic of Ireland was primarily local, focussing nous shortcomings in the retenue system. In spite of penal reform gift a protracted et contested process, thé campaigns de prisoners’ rights movements fabriquer a significant contribuer à to the debates about the conditions of confinement and prisoners’ rights in the 1970s and 1980s.

Cet éléments étudie le galet des organisations représentant das prisonniers « de pleinement commun » en républicains d’Irlande au cours des année décente 1970 und 1980. Aucas ces organisations ont été éclipsées dans esquive représentations prendre plaisir dans les travaux académiques par das mouvements ns protestation des prisonniers politisés, deux étude prouver pertinente en raison du leur volonté d’une réforme convoque tous esquive prisonniers. Dans un le contexte international cible par ns multiplication des mouvements ns défense des vérité des prisonniers, l’impulsion réformatrice en République irlande est née ns mobilisations la nature locales et critique des défaillances du système carcéral. En malgré des controverses excité par ce lent processus réformateur, esquive mobilisations nées à lintérieur le cadre de ces se déplacer ont apporté une contribuer à importante de débats sur les état d’incarcération et des droits des prisonniers dedans les années 1970 rang 1980.

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Mots-clés :

République d’Irlande, prisonniers de aboutissant commun, mouvements du défense des autorisation des prisonniers, pour révolutionner pénale


Republic of Ireland, simple prisoners, prisoners’ civil liberties movements, penal reform
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1. Introduction
2. Leave a record
3. “Our prisons oui nothing to aller with justice or rights”
4. Resisting Penal reform
5. Towards Penal Transformation?
6. Conclusion
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Acknowledgments: I être grateful à Ruari-Santiago McBride and the cotton reviewers who made comments conditions météorologiques earlier drafts ns this paper. Ns would also like to acknowledge the assistance of invité editors pour this distinct issue, Gwenola Ricordeau et Joël Charbit. All errors and opinions remain mien own.

Vous lisez ce: Cours d irlande en 4 lettres

1. Présenter

1The movements for social, economic, et political transformation du the 1960s and 1970s inspired thé proliferation du prisoners’ rights organizations internationally (Behan, 2018; Charbit, Ricordeau, 2018a; Huff, 1974; Lichtenstein, 2011; Rusche, Yaley, 1980; Singleton, 1973; Thompson, 2016; Wall, 2020; Woolpert, 1978). In thé Republic ns Ireland, prisoners’ rights movements were part du the struggle for social échanger internationally, marqué they were generally bound up with the domestic social, political and penal environments.

2In the Republic ns Ireland and Northern Ireland, many academic et popular attention to date has focussed nous prisoners who campaigned à la political status (Beresford, 1987; Kenny, 2017; McConville, 2003, 2013; McEvoy, 2001). Auto re-emergence ns physical renforcer movements demanding an end to frère rule in northern Ireland commander to a sharp boost in thé in the early 1970s alors of ira members who were imprisoned in the Republic ns Ireland. Provisional donc prisoners refused venir accept the label of criminal and distinguished themselves et their activities from so-called ordinary jaune social (hereafter ordinary) prisoners. While they pursued renovations in prison conditions for themselves, et demanded venir be treated ont political prisoners, their se concentrer sur remained nous the political dispute outside.1

3With media attention, scholastic analysis and the auditeur gaze mostly drawn to the issue of political status et the plight ns politically to adjust prisoners, this file examines auto movements representing simple prisoners which ont been largely absent from general accounts ns penal background in this period. However, most du the tentative for enhancements in general prison hachette in thé 1970s et 1980s in auto Republic du Ireland came from organisations representing plain prisoners. In contrast venir politically to adjust prisoners, campaigns for penal reform de ordinary prisoners were significant, due to the fact that their target was venir improve confinement conditions, which castle contended, have to be à la all prisoners.

4This paper’s focus is nous organisations i m sorry represented plain prisoners, in particular, thé Prisoners’ Rights hôte (PRO). Thé outline of the record is ont follows: part one begins passant par examining the absent of thé perspectives from, et accounts of tous les jours life of, ordinary prisoners available à those investigate Ireland’s penal past. The prochain part outlines thé emergence ns the PRO. Auto response/s from thé state to thé demands parce que le penal reform space then examined. The paper continues by evaluating the collision of simple prisoners et organisations representing them conditions météorologiques progressing penal reform. Cette concludes de arguing that, regardless of their relative absent from thé penal narrative, the se mettre daccord played a considerable duty in the debates about penal reform in the Republic of Ireland in auto 1970s et 1980s.

2. Leaving a record

5Until recently, auto study du criminology in the Republic de Ireland was described as an “absentee discipline” (Kilcommins et al., 2004). This phrasé could also oui been used to describe thé study de penology, oui it is extensively recognised that there is a lack of data which appartenant à challenges à la those undertaking a study ns the penal system in thé Republic de Ireland (O’Donnell, 2008). Included to auto deficiency in thé material available à study penal background is the limited material enduring detailing auto experience of incarceration. Oui late oui 2008, O’Donnell (2008, 122, emphasis added) said that “Quite simply, we à faire not à savoir much about what cette feels like to aller time in the Republic of Ireland”.

6The raw les données of limite life overwhelmingly originates from Provisional ira prisoners (mainly in northern Ireland) who ont relayed their experiences to the outside civilization in memoir and autobiography (Campbell et al., 1994; Morrison, 1999; O’Rawe, 2005; Sands, 1993), and information in An Phoblacht, the un journal of Sinn Féin. Many de the accounts described sapin during periods ns heightened dispute in prisons, when the struggle inside became “war de other means” (McConville, 2003, 509). Nevertheless, with Provisional donc prisoners determined to differentiate themselves from thé rest de the limite population, they showed signification littérale interest in penal état for simple prisoners. In contrast, over there is sparse material obtainable that relays thé penal experience du ordinary prisoners, jaune their struggles pour improved conditions. Therefore, we ont limited material à work with in evaluating their confinement experience.

7During thé 1970s and 80s, Irish society knew signification littérale about life inside Ireland’s penal institutions from main sources. The Department of judiciaire released limité data et reports that appeared were routinely out of cétait une date (Rogan, 2012, 23). The Department was very wary, at temps seemingly hostile to any type of outside attention in the penal établissements (O’Donnell, 2008, 124-125). Even thé usually timid visiting committee reports, i beg your pardon were frequently delayed in publication et restricted in access, called us signification littérale about tons inside Ireland’s prisons. Regardless of sporadic attempts by the department of judiciaire to launch public relations capacité à juger with media tours du prisons (Brady, 2014, 64), one journalist who had visited a prison noted that “the limite system is dominated de a paranoia around security, dictated de the Department du Justice” (Brennan, 1981). Thé situation was sauce soja acute that thé chair de the PRO, léger Costello after gift obstructed in his do the efforts to gain access venir visiting committee reports take it legal action against auto Department of justice to get reports released in a timely way (Interview through Author, recorded 18 April 2017).2

8One unofficial source of informations came from the prison Study group (PSG). Established in 1973 par concerned members de civic culture with a provide from college College Dublin, their investigation found a “very close up door system” as the department et the minister pour justice “imposed significant limitations” on their research. Castle were therefore “forced to pièce together a picture of the retenue process native accounts by people who ont experienced cette in various capacities” (PSG, 1973, 4).

9Along with the paucity du first-hand accounts by ordinary detainees about first inside (although watch O’Sullivan, O’Donnell, 2012, marche II, which aller some way to rectifying this dearth ns information) et lack de official data, over there is limited literature conditions météorologiques protests movements including ordinary detainees (Behan, 2018; Wall, 2020). This is nevertheless Rogan’s (2011, 144) delinquent in her history de penal plan in Ireland, that is it possible to view auto establishment du the Prisoners union (representing ordinary prisoners), “as part du the more general trend du protest and agitating groups occurring in Ireland”. While scholars have made short references to the emergence de the pro (Behan, 2014; Kilcommins et al., 2004, 71; Rogan, 2011, 144), a num of publications have not contained them in accounts du this period. Lock did not warrant a couverts in individual limite histories (Carey, 2000) and are absent from edited anthologies assessing various aspects du the criminal justice system in Ireland (Healy et al., 2016; O’Mahony, 1993). Nevertheless, auto experience ns ordinary sinner organising is arguably more considérable to understanding penal politics and prison revolutionary in this period than thé more extensively studied politics aligned prisoners. In his study du the beforehand years of the Prisoners’ legal rights Organisation, Oisín mur contends that it became thé “longest-lasting et most vocalique penal reform organisation in Ireland” till the formation of thé Irish Penal Reform to trust in 1994. Cette argues that “by 1976 the se mettre daccord was an increasingly legit voice in Ireland’s auditeur discourse nous prisons” (Wall, 2020, 388).

10Outside auto Republic de Ireland, prisoners’ rights movements representing simple prisoners oui been somewhat neglected in anthologies of sociales motions (see pour example, Goodwin, Jasper, 2015). In Britain, Ryan (2003, 68) detailed that two widely-read academic and popular texts nous imprisonment et the penal système neglected the contribuer à of prisoner unions and prisoners’ legal rights movements. However, much more in-depth studies du prisoners’ rights activities (and this Special sortir will non doubt ajouter to thé literature nous the subject) oui been undertaken, v critical analyses published in English de prisoners’ rights motions in England (Fitzgerald, 1975, 1977), la france (Donzelot, 1975), Italy (Modona, 1975), Scandinavia (Mathiesen, Roine, 1975; Ward, 1972), and Spain (Bergalli, 1995). Charbit, et Ricordeau (2015) check the combinaison Syndicale des Prisonniers aux France (ASPF) i beg your pardon was actif in the mid-1980s. As année abolitionist organization, it campaigned parce que le the right of association and trade union rights parce que le prisoners. Utilising primary et secondary sources et interviews, your research considered abolitionist campaigns and prisoner battles in france since thé mid-1980s. Tibbs (2012, xi) said that auto “history of the prisoners unions in thé US ont received scant academic attention” et he collection out venir rectify this v his study du the phibìc Carolina Prisoners’ Labor syndicat (NCPLU). Previously, Cummins (1994) had actually examined thé prisoners’ movement in californie from auto 1950s to 1980s and subsequent to Tibbs, heather Ann Thompson’s seminal work (2016) conditions météorologiques the Attica uprising et its conséquence won the pulvateur Prize for History in 2017. Charbit and Ricordeau (2018a) ont moved thé research on, creating a comparative study of retenue organising and prisoners’ union in France and the united States.

11This document is based nous first-hand regard from prisoners and their supporters, account of état in ireland prisons, et contemporaneous reports ns protests native newspapers. Thé longest-serving and most high-profile dirigeants of thé Prisoners’ Rights hôte throughout its existence – léger Costello – agreed venir be interviewed pour this research. Thé themes spanned included auto reasons parce que le the establishment de the PRO, that programme, campaigns et government response. The entretien dealt v his analysis du the success or otherwise du the organisation, the treatment ns ordinary, compared à politically set prisoners, et the reasons for the demise du the PRO. The paper draws nous commentaries and data from the Jail un journal which to be published de the PRO, copies of which are available in the national Library de Ireland.3 The pro argued the their own relaxer was necessary, because “newspaper exposure ns the prison lacked one significativement thing: an expression of prisoners’ point of view” (Jail Journal 1, no. 2). Even when journalists were invited to visit prisons nous media tours, castle were not allowed to speak to prisoners (Irish Times, November 19, 1980).

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12Other la source used for this study incorporate the confinement Study Group, a civic society initiative with a approve from auto Department ns Psychiatry at university College Dublin, which created a agissant in 1973 on hachette in irish prisons. The commission of inspection into the Irish Penal système in 1979 – organised passant par among rather the se mettre daccord – created a agissant from thé proceedings (MacBride, 1982). In 1985, the government-appointed Committee de Inquiry into auto Penal system published that is report. Thé 1947 confinement Rules are also scrutinised to understand thé rules and regulations the governed prisoners’ lives.

13Drawing nous accounts of prison experiences in trying venir understand auto penal previous is not without the difficulties. As Bosworth (2001) point out, it is a an obstacle for all social historians, who have long recognised that those nous periphery de society: bad people, women, children, slaves have tended à leave couple of records ns their lives. Thé challenge du including voices of ordinary prisoners is an especially heightened with auto lack of sources available, which can lead to the subjugated understanding (Foucault, 1980) de prisoners being excluded from histoire of auto penal past. More often 보다 not, auto perspectives the are an ext readily (or sometimes the seul ones) obtainable in archives, auditeur records offices et online collection come from official and semi-official sources: retenue departments et prison officers’ representative body respectively.

14Historically, first-hand account from detainees are rare for a variety of reasons. Detainees seldom retained (and indeed, keep) written enregistrer “setting forth thé ideology of the inmate population, that myths or its mores” (Sykes, 1958, xix). This can be périmé to censorship, with many prison systems imposing strict des lignes directrices on quel prisoners have the right to officially relay to the outside world. This dissuades lock from maintaining written records oui if these materials are discovered and deemed à transgress prison rules, cette can lead to official punishment jaune unofficial sanction. Also when they space available, sinner accounts hardly ever provide thé level du detail taped in official accounts. However, drawing conditions météorologiques their individual experiences of incarceration, rather than giving empirical details throughout the retenue estate (see for example, James, 2003; Lord, 2015; Hunt, 1999), prison memoirs can carry out some riche raw data to assist scholars understand auto experience of tons inside. While recognising that prisoners’ perspectives deserve to be difficult à unearth, if they exist at all, there is no them nous are liable to importer a one-dimensional presentation of the past. Ordinary prisoners rarely have the resources, media contacts, PR et communication strategy à set the ordre du jour when cette comes to creating a histoire in popular jaune media accounts, particularly when société order breaks down in prison.4

15Acknowledging that the sources that are obtainable are limited and sketchy, this paper pivots the se concentrer away from politically aligned prisoners, and considers auto role de ordinary detainees in campaigning à la improvements in auto penal système in the 1970s and 1980s. Ont the pro was année organisation the sought à represent the voice de the simple prisoner in reforming the penal system, a substantive examination de their place in penal history is necessary. This is particularly haricot de soja in light de the emergence ns ‘criminology indigenous below’ (Sim, 1994), utilising thé insider perspective, et convict criminology (Aresti, Darke, 2016). It follows thé more well-established “history native below” (Thompson, 1966), the purpose ns which is, according to Davidson (2019), “the recovery du voices lacking from thé historical narrative”.

3. “Our prisons ont nothing to à faire with justice or rights”

16When auto state the became the Republic du Ireland was established in 1922, ce took over existing prisons, many ns which had actually been developed in thé Victorian era. V the sapin new greenfield prison not being built until 1989, by the 1970s the limite estate and penal conditions needed modernisation. The problem du over-crowding to be exacerbated de the hachette in i m sorry prisoners had to live (PSG, 1973). Auto majority de prisoners had to “slop out”.5 detainees had à spend end 15 hours du quotidien in your cell and there were limite productive out-of-cell activities. While there continued venir be very traditional limite industries these to be “menial” et did “not assist auto prisoner’s opportunités of employment nous release” (PSG, 1973, 89). Auto educational infrastructure were minimal, usually seul literacy being available, v the émanant of St. Patrick’s institution (for juveniles) which readily available a range de subjects (PSG, 1973, 89-90). Auto majority du prisoners come from areas of acute économique deprivation ont a study listed that auto “offender who ends up in confinement is hardly ever from a well-off suburb” (PSG, 1973, 34). The prison Study grouper concluded that “Irish prisons aller not rehabilitate et at present they are punitive” (PSG, 1973, 90).

17By international standards, imprisonment rates were low. Between 1926 et 1971, there were less than 1,000 prisoners each year. In 1951, the tous les jours average num of detainees was 488, with an average imprisonment rate of 17 tout de suite 100,000. Passant par 1971 this had risen venir 926 prisoners, with année imprisonment rate ns 31 tout de suite 100,000 (O’Sullivan, O’Donnell, 2012, 5-6). This compared to England and Wales at 81 effronté 100,000, Denmark at 70 revenir 100,000, Sweden at 61 revenir 100,000 and the etats-unis at 200 revenir 100,000 (Waller, chan 1974, 58). Return the num of detainees was low, the état of retenue were sub-standard. This account de a structure prisoner which showed up in thé Jail Journal (vol. 1, no. 10) in auto mid-1970s defines what cette encountered conditions météorologiques his life night in Mountjoy Prison, auto largest in thé state:

The dirty mattress, thé dirty bedclothes, thé filthy rusted pratique in the corner, the dirty eating utensils, auto filthy plastic containers ingrained through dirt, thé human excrement plastered nous the walls and the all-pervading stench of this in auto cell must surely be auto ultimate test of a man’s character. Worse was yet à come in auto shape ns the toilet facilities which epitomised every little thing that need to be auto nadir ns human degradation.

18Similar accounts ns these hachette in Ireland’s penal establishments appeared throughout thé 1970s and 1980s.

19Prison discipline was regulation under retenue rules date from 1947. Parce que le breaking this rules, punishment might be harsh. A governor could impose “close confinement” parce que le up 3 days; diet reduction up venir 14 days et suspension de privileges for up to three months (rule 69). Auto Minister pour Justice had more widespread powers venir punish. In addition to disobeying année order from policemans being a breach of prison discipline, there was a dizzying array de activities pour which a prisoner could be punished: from gift “idle, careless, jaune negligent at work” à being “indecent in language, act or gesture”, or si they conversed or held “intercourse with autre prisoner without authority” (rule 68).

20As a result de renewed irish Republican military (IRA) task with the outbreak de the conflict in northern Ireland in thé late 1960s, over there was an increase in the num of prisoners in the Republic of Ireland. Historically, politics aligned prisoners have sought separation from rather in auto penal system (McConville, 2003, 2013). It was practically inevitable that ira prisoners would communicate in disturbances venir assert their demand à be treated as political prisoners. Provisional ira prisoners were really keen à distinguish themselves from simple prisoners et at temps engaged in what they described as “militant action” à pursue their demands, including the “removal of non-Republican detainees <...> from thé Provisional section” ns Portlaoise prison (Ruari Ó Brádaigh, President ns Provisional Sinn Fein, quote in Irish Times, January 8, 1975). Reflecting thé split militarily and ideologically outside, differences emerged amongst politically aligned teams in their mindsets towards ordinary prisoners. In comparison to the Provisional IRA, auto Official IRA, nominally nous ceasefire because 1972, search to distance itself from thé tactics ns the Provisional IRA and their campaign for political status (Hanley, Millar, 2010).6 proclaiming their left-wing credentials, Official ira prisoners refused to demand separation, suggesting that “ordinary prisoners are unconscious political prisoners” (Hanley, Millar, 2010, 211).

21While politics aligned prisoners were protesting, haricot de soja too were simple prisoners. Amid discontent at the hachette of confinement, the standard of thé food and lack du recreational facilities, protests par ordinary detainees in Portlaoise limite in late 1972 et early 1973 commander to the creation of auto Portlaoise Prisoners’ syndicat (PPU) et eventually when ce spread, the Prisoners Union. (For further analysis of the prisoners Union, view Behan, 2018.) nous release from Portlaoise retenue a number of former prisoners made decision to continue to fight for improved prison hachette and an ad hoc Committee for prison Reform dubbed a auditeur meeting in July 1973. This was à generate public soutien “to preserve, protect et extend the rights du prisoners, et seek the implementation de the 11 demands de the Portlaoise prisoners Union” (John Kearns, cited in Irish Press, 7 July 1973). This rencontrer of structure prisoners and others interested in penal revolutionary established auto Prisoners’ rights Organisation, specifically for what castle termed ‘social’ or ‘ordinary’ prisoners because, castle argued, “no group outside speak out nous their behalf” (Jail Journal, vol. 1, no. 1). Besides, those convicted parce que le politically related tasks were aligned v political parties and had established their own organisations outside prison: thé Relatives action Committee pour Provisional ira prisoners et Saoirse for Official donc prisoners (Magill, 1977).

22In the first edition de the Jail journaux (vol. 1, no. 1), the pro outlined that list ns demands, which reflected your social and political analysis. Ce was came to with prison conditions, et the more comprehensive penal system, rather than their status inside. They believed that thé “only equipment is to échanger the social et economic hachette of society and so automatically à faire away with thé need for crime”. In auto meantime, the se mettre daccord called for “the prompt implementation du a comprehensive system de penal reform in ireland jails”.

23The comprehensive list ns demands ranged from enhancements in auto provision of education et vocational training, to extended recreation facilities, and improved visite conditions, with an ext regular visits. Mirroring demands du prisoners’ organisation elsewhere (Huff, 1974; Singleton, 1973; Woolpert, 1978), the se mettre daccord demanded that prisoners should have the right to establish a union, v trade union rates du pay for limite work. In terms of prisoners’ rights, lock wanted the right to voter in local and general elections and to sign up with political parties; thé right à enter into marriage; thé right to be legally represented et to appel téléphonique witnesses in inner disciplinary proceedings and for a member ns the prisoners Union to be present (Jail Journal, vol. 1, no.1).

24Finally, the professionnel echoed the critique of limite governance the was a feature du prisoners’ rights maître internationally (see à la example, Fitzgerald, 1977; Thompson, 2016). Castle demanded the the confinement system be administered by a statutory plank appointed de the Minister à la Justice with its “members to be attracted from a cross-section of the neighborhood with knowledge ns and an interest in the welfare ns the prisoners”, with “an ex-prisoner, a serving prisoner and a trade union representative amongst its members” (Jail Journal, vol. 1, no. 1).

25Reflecting their desire à be a voice pour prisoners, it was i agreeed at auto inaugural rencontrer of the se mettre daccord that thé 14-person executive, management would comprendre at the very least fifty per des centaines former prisoners (Joe Costello: entretien with Author, April 2017). The activities de the se mettre daccord were generally in 3 categories: a) campaigning et activism; b) practical initiatives and c) research study into thé penal system. Activism had convening meetings, organising marches et campaigning à la changes in legislation (Joe Costello: entretien with Author, April 2017). Along with practical initiatives for arrestees, prisoners and their families, the pro believed that auto lack ns information, linked with official et semi-official accounts about first inside confinement gave the public a it was crooked understanding du the institution. Along with the libération of the Jail Journal, i m sorry the pro claimed had actually a circulation du up à 3,000 copie (Jail un journal vol. 1, no. 12), ce published research (PRO, 1978; Byrne et al., 1981) in auto hope that thé reality of life behind bar would stimulate the auditeur to demand année improvement in confinement conditions.

26In order venir highlight the état in ireland prisons, the professionnel jointly convened a frais of inspection in 1979, which report that thé Irish limite system to be “demoralised and outmoded” (MacBride, 1982, 29). Echoing a num of demands pour improvements in conditions et the enhancement de the rights de prisoners contained in the pro programme, this commet endorsed prisoners’ right venir form associations and unions, and it encourage that tous prisoners have access venir the franchise (MacBride, 1982, 93). Locating prisoners’ rights within a human rights framework, et drawing on internationale standards, it called à la the app of thé United Nations étendard Minimum Rules à la the Treatment du Prisoners (UNSMR) in Irish retenue Rules.

27As their campaign escalated, the professionnel became an ext steadfast in their critique of Irish prisons which did not “rehabilitate people or help them get rid of their problems”. Lock were simply “to do life as unbearable oui possible à la the prisoner in année attempt venir ensure that auto stay is fabriquer so uncomfortable the he/she does no come back. Oui the rest du our legit system, ours prisons oui nothing to aller with justice or rights” (Jail Journal, vol. 1, no. 12).

4. Resisting Penal reform

28Despite the état outlined above, thé government rubbish criticism of the penal system. Throughout a heated conflict in the Dáil (lower loger of ireland parliament) in 1970, Desmond O’Malley, the Minister for Justice, when asked about hachette in Portlaoise Prison, refused venir accept that there was “public disquiet conditions météorologiques this matter”. Hey believed that “the conditions in the prison can be meilleur than those that some de the prisoners oui come indigenous outside” (Dáil Debates, 5 December 1972, vol. 264, col. 964). Regardless of these assertions, his successor, Patrick Cooney recognised improvements in confinement conditions et modernisation ns the penal heritage were longue overdue (Irish Press, 27 October 1973; Brady 2014, 69). However, while recognising auto need pour reform, Patrick Cooney garbage criticism du Irish prisons. “Not seul did they compare favourably v the le meilleur in Europe”, according to thé Minister à la Justice, “but they were in daccord with and in countless respects, gone beyond the normes set under in auto Council du Europe” (cited in Irish Independent, 27 October 1973).

29Penal exercise does no take place in a vacuum. No one does penal reform. Auto demands parce que le penal reform et indeed a state’s response reflect thé wider social and political setting in society. While ireland prions were, follow to auto PRO, “too old, too small, dilapidated and unhygienic” (Jail Journal, vol. 1, no. 1), these conditions were no out du sync with penal état internationally. Indeed, comparer conditions spawned many comparable organisations, whose demands were endroit (with a few notable exceptions such ont in Scandinavia, view Mathiesen, 2000; Mathiesen, Roine 1975) v a similar rejection from confinement management et state authorities.

30In France, the Comité d’action des Prisonniers or couvercle (Prisoners mouvement Committee) was developed in 1972 (Charbit, Ricordeau, 2018a). A year later, the Prisoners’ travail Group – which came to be Justice mouvement – was started in australie on thé back de a num of revolts de prisoners (Charbit, Ricordeau, 2018b, 5). Much less than deux years avant the establishment du the PRO, thé uprising at Attica Correctional basic in upstate new York in September 1971, emphasize a range of issues, including sub-standard conditions of confinement and concerns with retenue governance (Thompson, 2016). De the time the four-day uprising to be over, oui well ont entering into auto annals of the prisoners’ rights activities in thé US and internationally, Attica “became a family word and a part du our well-known culture” (Munro-Bjorklund, 1991, 55). In 1972, auto Preservation à la the Rights de Prisoners (PROP) held the first national prisoners strike which highlighted auto deficiencies in hachette in anglais prisons (Fitzgerald, 1977). Comparable to réagir in the Republic de Ireland, the frère government refused à negotiate with, or recognise thé right of, PROP à represent prisoners or meet any ns its demands. While thé government had previously accepted that many british prisons were “grossly overcrowded”, and most de them to be “obsolescent” (Home Office, 1969, 2), ce was no sufficiently jolted into travail to rectify thé situation. By 1981, the loger of Commons heard how the “conditions in her Majesty’s prison are now <…> an une insulte to a civilised society” (Roy Hattersley MP, Hansard, HC, 2 December 1981, vol. 14, col. 274).

31Ireland’s closed institutions – reflecting wider society – would certainly open seulement un slowly and somewhat erratically to auto tide du social change, modernisation et international influence (Keogh, 2005; Lee, 1989; O’Sullivan, O’Donnell, 2012). The limited finances of the new state et the low numbers imprisoned intended that penal revolutionary was not a political or social priority, also a generation after thé state came into existence. A num of recherche about penal policy in thé Republic of Ireland ont detailed auto protracted and sometimes idiosyncratic la nature of penal revolutionary (O’Donnell, 2009; Rogan, 2011, 2012; Kilcommins et al., 2004), described by one scholar ont “grindingly slow” (O’Donnell, 2011, 489). Compared to différent countries, there was a “stunted understanding” of retenue issues in thé Republic de Ireland and this represented an “impediment à sound plan making” (O’Donnell, 2008, 122).

32There were différent reasons à la the lack de penal reform. When the state was sapin established, there was relatively au sens propre political attention in prison issues, or renouveler in penal policy. In the early decades of the new state, despite many parliamentarians having spent temps in Irish et British penal institutions, they showed little interest in enhancing conditions, modernizing the confinement estate, jaune reforming the penal system. In rejecting the criminalization du their cause, and particularly to éliminer their activities from auto deeds ns other prisoners, the released political leaders sought to distinguish their imprisonment indigenous that de ordinary prisoners (Behan, 2011). In 1970, the absent of penal reform was noted par Noel Browne, a charrue parliamentarian, who thought that successive judiciaire ministers who had spent temps in retenue must oui been aware de “how stupid et futile and degrading is thé whole principle of locking increase people and how completely sterile cette is and unproductive de any change”. Cette was scathing around ministers, “distinguished prison birds” who had spent temps in prison, cible refused to reform auto penal system, noting the “few du them took the opportunity à introduce changes which were needed” (Dáil Debates, 1970, vol. 247, cols. 121-22).

33As through penal policy innovation in divers jurisdictions, prisoners et their representative have rarely been consulted around penal revolutionary (Fitzgerald, 1977). The se mettre daccord claimed that thé government banned its organ, thé Jail Journal from entering prison (Jail Journal, vol. 1, no. 2). Article for thé Journal about tons inside limite were smuggled out to bypass thé censor’s office et some copie were subsequently privately passed ago into auto prisons. At times, thé government tried à prevent members du the se mettre daccord from visite prisoners due to the fact that they believed they would certainly foment unrest. Allegations the members de the professionnel were harassed by gardai (police) showed up regularly in auto Jail Journal (vol. 2, no. 6).

34The outbreak de the conflict in north Ireland had actually a significant impact on auto political et penal priorities of various governments during this period, especially in auto area ns criminal justice et penal policy (Brady, 2014; Ferriter, 2014). When concentrating their energies nous dealing with politically aligned prisoners, cette “deflected a large amount du attention, resources et energies from ‘ordinary’ limite matters” (Rogan, 2009, 8).

35In order à undermine the authenticity ns the involves raised passant par the Prisoners’ rights Organisation, thé government asserted that cette did not stand for prisoners, et argued that ce was a front parce que le some du to those convicted for politically urged activities and their allies outside. Successive federal governments were keen to associate the pro with official Sinn Fein et the Official ira (Jail Journal, vol. 1, no. 2). Castle refused venir meet with, or engage with thé appeals for reform from the PRO. Once they established their inquiry into thé penal system, Minister for Justice, gérard Collins, refused à engage with it, because cette did no wish “to be placed in a position of appearing à give part form du official approval for an exercise prompted de the organisation” (cited in MacBride, 1982, 108). “The establishment”, according to léger Costello, “was really much opposed to the Prisoners’ civil liberties Organisation. Nous were seen oui troublemakers, raising issues that clearly authorities would favor weren’t raised. Nous were highlighting some de the injustices the were taking place” (Interview v Author, April 2017).

36In contrast venir ordinary, the politically aligned prisoners had greater resources et levels ns support, partly tandis que to their political motions being able venir mobilise roughly their cause. In spite of the essai of auto PRO, they had actually neither auto resources no one the auditeur appeal du the politics aligned prisoners. While rejecting demands à la political status from politics aligned prisoners, thé state neutralized your protests by accepting their representation, boosting their conditions, and effectively recognizing them ont a various category ns prisoner (Behan, 2018). At the same temps successive governments undermined and distrusted the campaigns à la improvements in état for plain prisoners.

37One of the primary outcomes of the campaigns nous behalf du ordinary prisoners during these year “served venir prompt suspicion, fear and hostility quite than co-operation, understanding et sympathy amongst policy-makers” (Rogan, 2011, 145). Despite thé prevailing confinement conditions, confinement administrators and politicians resisted the demands of the PRO, rejected your claim to represent prisoners et derided auto idea that plain prisoners had any contribuera to make à debates nous penal reform.

5. Towards Penal Transformation?

38Four years after the professionnel convened its commet of inspection (MacBride, 1982), thé government created their very own assessment of the penal system, the tons official inquiry into hachette in Irish prison in the history ns the state. Despite the government’s refusal to engage with auto PRO’s commission, thé Report de the Committee of Inquiry into thé Penal System (which became widely known as the Whitaker décalage (1985), named after that is chairperson) echoed many de the criticisms du the penal système from thé PRO. Several du its references were similar to thé proposals from auto PRO. Joe Costello fabriqué a submission nous behalf de the PRO. Cette was happy with thé findings du the Whitaker Report. It was “a benchmark pour moving forward.” hey continued: “We felt nous achieved what nous sought venir achieve. Nous put prison reform on the map”. Cette was now temps to volonté the policies applied (Interview through Author, April 2017). Although ce was never completely dissolved, Costello felt that the se mettre daccord had accomplished its mandate and the daccueil faded away.

39Despite the reports from auto PRO and the government-appointed committee which highlighted acute deficiencies in thé Irish limite system, the optimism that penal reform would follow was not realized. Although thé Whitaker report became a benchmark à la many penal reformers de which à review progress et conditions in the Irish penal system, translating auto recommendations into reality was a tarif more challenging task. The Irish government’s penal plans remained “remote and resistant venir influence” from press groups, consisting of campaigners et the churches (Tomlinson, 1995, 208). Auto penal reform advocated passant par the pro was no achieved, et by the sapin decade ns the 21st century, auto Whitaker Report’s referrals remained oui “persuasive today ont when castle were life made” (O’Donnell, 2008, 126).

40Analysing auto progress within auto penal system in light of the demands of the PRO, it was no until thé late in the 20th and early 21st centuries that improvements in hachette began, v parts of the limite estate gift modernised et the incarcération of new prisons. Thé end of “slopping out” in Mountjoy – Ireland’s largest limite – did not take place until 2014, with plan to eliminate cette in tous prisons by 2021 (Irish limite Service , 2017, 6). Par the end ns the 1980s, schools had actually been created in every prison (Warner, 2002). Irish prisoners were allowed to voter in the 2007 général election, with the introduction of legislation to enfranchise toutes les personnes prisoners (Behan, 2014). New confinement rules were presented in 2007. Although auto 1947 rules were understandably regularly ignored, the they continued to be in operation, if not result until 2007, suggested not seulement a lack of concern in emerging a modern-day penal policy et governance charpente in irish prisons, cible a distinct absent of urgency in penal reform.

41Increasingly, from thé 1970s, thé state was being criticised utilizing a person rights discourse framed around international standards. Reports from auto Committee à la the Prevention du Torture (CPT) which visited Ireland à la the sapin time in 1993 fabriquer Irish prison more transparent, marqué conditions remained listed below par. In the 1998 visit, auto CPT provided that regardless of new retenue rules gift promised in thé 1993 inspection, they calmer had no been introduced (CPT, 1999, 22). Overcrowding to be a far-reaching source ns concern during auto 1998, 2002 and 2006 visits (CPT, 1999, 2003, 2007). In particular, thé CPT noted that what it termed “the old et dilapidated prisons”, elevated “concerns ont to auto safe and humane treatment de prisoners” maintained in these agence (CPT, 2007, 17). Passant par the time of its sixth visit in 2014, the CPT acknowledged auto “considerable measures taken passant par the ireland authorities to reform the limite system”, in details overcrowding et the état of detention. Nevertheless, there were encore 330 prisoners “slopping-out” and it called nous the irish government to eradicate auto need à la this exercise (CPT, 2015, 7). While welcome the nouveau complaints system introduced by the Irish retenue Service, cette recommended a timelier process à deal v grievances (CPT, 2015, 51).

42Prison oversight and accountability mechanisms were encore hopelessly insufficient at thé end de the 1980s. Lock are calmer not up venir international best practice today (Behan, Kirkham, 2016; irish Penal Reform to trust , 2017, 59-63). Cette was not till 2002 that thé Office du the Inspector de Prisons to be created and it to be put nous a statutory footing with auto Prisons loi 2007. Back legislation has actually been promised (Behan, Kirkham, 2016; IPRT, 2017), at auto time ns writing, Irish prisoners still do not have a totally independent complaints mechanism and have ne sont pas access to thé Ombudsman, in spite of a recommendation in the Whitaker report (1985, 16) over 30 year ago.

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43The pro regularly criticised visiting committees ont being too close to confinement management (see pour example, Jail Journal, vol. 1, no. 1). Also when elevation reports to be indicating the Irish prisons were below acceptable person rights standards, some visite committees were issuing positive, also glowing reports. While visiting committees are no longer allowed à mete out punishment et dietary punishment has actually been abolished, their composition and procedures are toujours routinely criticised passant par both prisoners and penal reformers (see Behan, 2014, 164-172; IPRT, 2009).

44As éblouissement the demands from the se mettre daccord that toutes les personnes criminal enregistrer be expunged 5 years after année individual leaves prison, auto Criminal judiciaire (Spent Convictions and Certain Disclosures) loi 2016 was far more limited in scope. The professionnel called pour the appointment of a prison Board à administer the prison with broad community depiction from those “with knowledge du and année interest in thé welfare du the prisoners’ including trade union et prisoner representatives” (Jail Journal vol. 1, no. 1). De 2017 the Irish confinement Service was operating as an “executive agency within thé Department of Justice et Equality” (IPS, 2018, 10). None of the members of the executive firm were appointed ont representatives de prisoners.

6. Conclusion

45Despite successive governments rejecting your legitimacy, through its approach of personalising the retenue experience, and focussing nous the conditions for plain prisoners, the pro in its beforehand years “brought a nouveau perspective to auditeur discussions about prisoners’ rights” (Wall, 2020, 409). Through the Jail Journal and other publications, they offered a voice to prisoners et ex-prisoners et disseminated informations to the public in your attempts to encourager a auditeur debate nous penal reform. This file established that par the time du the PRO’s demise, your demands had not been met. The prison system was unreformed, conditions of retenue remained thé same, or in some cases deteriorated, and prisoners’ civil liberties were unchanged. Nevertheless, the pro brought to the public’s type the conditions that exist in ireland prisons, noted signposts for penal reform, et pre-empted many ns the recommendations that showed up in the agissant from thé government-appointed Whitaker Committee in 1985.

46This file used a study of the Prisoners’ Rights hôte to extend auto analytical se concentrer sur of thé campaigns à la penal reform throughout auto 1970s et 1980s in the Republic de Ireland. Cette considered comment locating and including prisoners’ voices in a penal histoire can it is in a complicated and challenging exercise à la those studying et writing penal history. Cette argued that overlooking jaune delegitimising the role ns prisoners’ rights movements, oui successive government did throughout the 1970s and 1980s, risks taking the récit of une side at face value. This is specifically perilous in such conflicted situations, v usually starkly various accounts du events from various actors. Without année analysis ns the role of prisoners’ rights motions in progressing penal reform, nous are in danger of acquiring a one-dimensional background drawn native official jaune semi-official accounts.

47The official line coming from successive federal governments sought à undermine auto PRO’s claim à represent prisoners. They challenged their criticism de the penal system par labelling them oui subversive and radical. The pro was primarily came to with penal reform et wider transforms within the criminal judiciaire system. Instead of acknowledging thé views of one du key stakeholders within auto penal système – simple prisoners et their allies – successive governments undermined their legitimacy, dismissed their right venir organise and resisted any attempt at representation. While protests par politically set prisoners have drawn media attention and academic analysis, a study ns the campaigns by organisations representing plain prisoners indicates auto significant duty they play in advocating for improved état in Ireland’s penal institutions. Auto perspectives ns ordinary prisoners and their pertains to particularised de organisations such as the pro are de nombreux to see “history ont a entirety cloth” (Thompson, 1986, 495). Weaving an analysis ns these organisation into that towel is essential, in order à take account ns the role ns prisoners’ rights movements in penal history, and appreciate their contribuera to penal reform.