Download Beyond the Wire: Former Prisoners and Conflict by Peter Shirlow PDF

By Peter Shirlow

This booklet offers the 1st precise exam of the function performed via former loyalist and republican prisoners in grass roots clash transformation paintings within the Northern eire peace technique. It demanding situations the assumed passivity of former prisoners and ex-combatants. in its place, it means that such members and the teams which they shaped were key brokers of clash transformation. they've got supplied management in tough cultures of violence, constructed functional tools of resolving inter-communal clash and located methods for groups to discover their previous. In analysing this, the authors problem the sterile demonisation of former prisoners and the tactics that retain their exclusion from general civic and social lifestyles. The booklet is a confident reminder of the necessity for complete participation of either former fighters and sufferers in post-conflict transformation. It additionally lays out a brand new schedule for reconciliation which implies that clash transformation can and may commence ‘from the extremes’. The e-book might be of curiosity to scholars of criminology, peace and clash stories, legislation and politics, geography and sociology in addition to people with a selected curiosity within the Northern eire clash.

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Additional info for Beyond the Wire: Former Prisoners and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland

Example text

Although the bulk of the Republican former prisoners were connected to the IRA, some respondents had been involved in other Republican organisations and a few had no connection with any particular group but had been imprisoned for politically motivated activities. The Loyalist respondents originated in the Greater Shankill area and were drawn from within the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Red Hand Commando (RHC) groups. The qualitative dimension to the research comprised three elements. 9 Finally, semi-structured interviews were conducted with a number of key former prisoners and representatives of former prisoner groups and also members of ‘civic society’ during 2005.

Again, drawing on relevant international analogies where appropriate, we discuss each in turn. THE SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CONTEXT FOR EARLY RELEASE The release of combatants from prison after a conflict has a long tradition. Processes of prisoner release or pardon are entirely in keeping with the common-law legal tradition which has permitted the sovereign exercise of power to mitigate punishment for individual offenders or classes of offenders since at least the seventh century (Bresler, 1965; Moore, 1989).

However, before exploring these most recent releases in more detail, it is important to acknowledge that politically motivated prisoners were of course released from gaol throughout the Northern Ireland conflict. For example, internees were released in large numbers both before and after internment was phased out in early 1975 (Gardiner, 1975). 1 From the early 1980s, in partial response to political pressure concerning ‘SOSPs’ (Secretary of State’s Pleasure, that is, prisoners under 18 at the time of the sentence but given the equivalent of a life sentence), a new mechanism was devised to oversee the release of lifers and SOSPs (NIACRO, 1984; NIPS, 1985, 1987).

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