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NCJ Number: 219285 Find in a Library
Title: Normalization and Its Discontents: Constructing the 'Irreconcilable' Female Political Prisoner in Northern Ireland
Journal: British Journal of Criminology  Volume:47  Issue:3  Dated:May 2007  Pages:405-422
Author(s): Mary S. Corcoran
Date Published: May 2007
Page Count: 18
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This article analyzes the ways in which the normalization of the prison system in Northern Ireland cast women political prisoners as problematic subjects of prison reform.
Abstract: In this article “normalization” is defined as a paradigm shift in prison policy that included a focus away from political forces and toward ideological neutrality. The process of normalization for prisons in Northern Ireland altered their working culture from its militarized basis and toward more “normal” prison administration practices in prison systems in the Untied Kingdom. The normalization process was undertaken in an effort squelch prison conflict by addressing historical grievances over political status and treatment. The analysis focuses on questioning the progressivism of normalization. Critics decried the changes in prison policy in Northern Ireland as simply another version of previous efforts to exert State power and legitimacy over prisons, which had been vigorously resisted in Northern Ireland throughout the previous decade. The outcome of the normalization or depoliticized prisons for women prisoners was paradoxical: on the other hand, their marginal position within the prison system was reinforced as their specific needs were submerged within the greater project of prison reforms and, on the other hand, the resistance of these women to new conformist approaches labeled them as problematic subjects impeding the way of progress. These factors converged, the author argues, to cast women political prisoners as the irreconcilable “other” of the political process of Northern Ireland. In making this argument, the author argues that the emergence of three ideal-typical modes of managerial governance developed into sites of punishment and regulation when applied to women. These three ideal-typical modes of managerial governance are identified as: (1) responsibilization, which is the development of personal responsibility and voluntary conformity; (2) resources, which is a form of distributive justice aligned with neo-liberal values of eligibility in terms of privileges to prisoners; and (3) rights, which is described as the privileging of individual over group rights in legal and administrative settings. Footnotes, references
Main Term(s): Correctional reform; Female offenders
Index Term(s): Northern Ireland
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