This book offers a unique analysis of paramilitary imprisonment in Northern Ireland. The central focus of the book is the struggle between inmates and the state concerning the prisoners' assertion of their status as political prisoners. Drawing upon interviews with former Republican and Loyalist prisoners as well as prison managers and staff, this book locates that experience within the broader theoretical literature on imprisonment. Four forms of prison resistance
are examined by which prisoners asserted their political status. Dirty protest and hunger strike are characterised as resistance through self sacrifice. Violence, destruction and intimidation are examined as prison resistance becoming an extension of armed struggle. Escape is analysed as a form of
resistance through ridicule. And finally law is considered as instrumental resistance and a dialogical process with a range of audiences. The book then considers a range of prison management adopted by the prison authorities. `Reactive Containment' is described as a military-led model of management which incapacitated the terrorist `enemy' but acknowledged the political character of the inmates. `Criminalization' is viewed as a strategy designed to deny any practical or
symbolic acceptance of the political motivation of prisoners. `Managerialism', it is argued, encompasses a series of scientific discourses to rationalise conflicting interactions with prisoners, from pragmatic accommodations to a dogged determination to prevent further recognition of de facto political
status. The book concludes with an analysis of the early release of paramilitary prisoners and the conflict resolution process and some reflections on political prisons as spaces both during and after a political conflict.
`Kieran McEvoy's book is the first comprehensive account of paramilitary imprisonment in the Province ... McEvoy's competent introduction eases the reader into the complexities of his subject and provides the non-Irish specialist with an excellent synopsis of the three protagonists: state, unionists/loyalists and nationalists/republicans ... impressive bibliography ... significant and unique study ... needs to be read by any serious student of the Northern
Irish Studies Review
`McEvoy's case has important implications for the future direction of prison sociology ... The research on which the book is based is meticulous ... This is one of the book's many strengths.'
British Journal of Criminology
`... an important contribution to an already substantial literature... What makes this work so distinctive is its exhaustive analysis of prison life within what is widely known as Long Kesh, but is officially described as HMP Maze.'
The Global Review of Ethnopolitics, Vol. 2, No. 1, Sept 2002
`... fascinating ... This book offers a valuable insight into a period of history in the North that affected both communities.'
Derry Journal, 4 Jan 2002
`This is a sophisticated account of the struggle between the state and politically motivatd prisoners over their status and treatment in priosn over the last 30 years.'
Alison Liebling, British Journal of Criminology, Vol. 42/3,
`This in an outstanding... contribution to the prisons literature. It serves as an important piece of history, but more important, as a fully sociological and original analysis of strategies of coping, management, control and resistance.'
Alison Leibling, British Journal of Criminology, Vol. 42/3,