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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 184835 Find in a Library
Title: Prison-Empty: Inmates Released in Northern Ireland
Journal: Corrections Technology and Management  Volume:4  Issue:4  Dated:July/August 2000  Pages:46-47
Author(s): David Kinchin
Date Published: 2000
Page Count: 2
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In response to the changes in cirucmstances due to the cease-fires agreed to by both Loyalist and Republicans in Northern Ireland, the British government has introduced new legislation -- the Northern Ireland (Remission of Sentences) Act -- which allows release on license for inmates convicted of serious terrorism-related offenses after they have served half their sentences.
Abstract: In 1984 the prison population in Northern Ireland was 2,300. By 1989, this figure had dropped to 1,800. By 1994, there were still more than 1,800 being held in prisons; however, by the year 2000, the prison population had decreased to less than 1,200. The Maze Prison, a high-security prison located about 10 miles from Belfast, is probably the best known of all the prisons. With the exception of a small group of ordinary inmates employed as kitchen workers, the prison's population consists entirely of convicted terrorists who have claimed affiliation to paramilitary organizations. Special arrangements have been in place for the release on license of life prisoners since 1981; and under these arrangements, more than 450 have been released in 20 years. The power to release a life sentence inmate rests with the Secretary of State, after consultation with the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland and the trial judge. The Northern Ireland (Remission of Sentences) Act was introduced in July 1998; during the first 18 months of its implementation, 310 inmates were released. It is possible that the Maze, which in recent times housed 800 convicted terrorists, could be closed by the end of the year 2000. The changing face of peace in Northern Ireland is leaving the country with under-populated modern prisons that may be the envy of the world's prison service.
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Corrections in foreign countries; Domestic terrorism; Foreign correctional facilities; Foreign corrections statistics; Foreign sentencing; Inmate statistics; Northern Ireland; Revolutionary or terrorist groups
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