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NCJ Number: 67743 Find in a Library
Title: ULSTER'S PRISON GUARDS - 'A DIFFERENT KIND OF FEAR'
Journal: CORRECTIONS MAGAZINE  Volume:6  Issue:3  Dated:(JUNE 1980)  Pages:20-27
Author(s): W HART
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 8
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: PRISON GUARDS IN NORTHERN IRELAND ARE CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND THE IRISH REPUBLICAN ARMY (IRA) AND ITS SUPPORTERS.
Abstract: A TOTAL OF 19 PRISON GUARDS HAVE BEEN KILLED BY THE IRA SINCE 1976, WHEN THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT ENDED ITS POLICY OF PROVIDING SPECIAL TREATMENT FOR INMATES WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THE IRA AND OTHER PARAMILITARY GROUPS. AFTER 1976, SUCH PRISONERS WERE TO BE TREATED LIKE 'ORDINARY DECENT CRIMINAL' (ORCS), A POLICY WHICH MARKED THE BEGINNING OF A RELENTLESS BATTLE OF WILLS BETWEEN THE PRISONERS AND THE GOVERNMENT. TERRORIST PRISONERS HAVE BEEN HOUSED SINCE 1976 AT THE MAZE PRISON NEAR BELFAST. ON ANY GIVEN DAY, SOME 360 IRA INMATES, INSISTING THEY ARE NOT ODCS, HAVE REFUSED TO WORK, WEAR PRISON CLOTHES, OR CALL PRISON OFFICERS 'SIR.' THESE 'BLANKET MEN'--SO-CALLED BECAUSE BLANKETS ARE THE ONLY COVERING THEY WEAR--HAVE SWORN TO PERSIST UNTIL SPECIAL CATEGORY STATUS IS REINSTATED. IN MARCH 1978, THE CONTEST BETWEEN THESE MEN AND THEIR KEEPERS MOVED FROM THE MERELY HARSH TO THE GROTESQUES, WITH THE BLANKET MEN CONDUCTING A 'DIRTY PROTEST,' WHEREIN THEY REFUSE TO SHAVE, BATHE, OR CLEAN THEIR CELLS. THEY THROW URINE OUT THEIR WINDOWS, AND SMEAR FECES ON CELL WALLS. THIS PROTEST HAS BEEN MATCHED BY MOUNTING IRA VIOLENCE AGAINST ALL PRISON GUARDS (NOT JUST THOSE WHO WORK AT MAZE), WITH OFFICERS BEING KILLED IN THEIR CARS, ON THEIR WAY TO LUNCH, AND IN THEIR HOMES. OFFICERS HAVE ADOPTED MEASURES WITH GOVERNMENT HELP, SUCH AS MOVING TO SAFER OR DIFFERENT NEIGHBORHOODS, WEARING FLAK JACKETS, AND CARRYING PISTOLS. ALTHOUGH THEIR SALARIES ARE EXTRAORDINARILY HIGH (WITH EXTRA MONEY FOR RENT ALLOWANCES AND OVERTIME), THESE GUARDS EXPERIENCE STRESS THAT IS WRECKING THEIR MARRIAGES, DRIVING MANY TO ALCOHOL, AND FORCING THEM TO LIVE IN CONTINUAL FEAR AND ISOLATION. PHOTOGRAPHS ARE INCLUDED.
Index Term(s): Assassination; Correctional institutions (adult); Correctional Officers; Corrections occupational stress; Inmate attitudes; Inmate grievances; Inmate political affiliation; Inmate staff relations; Irish Republican Army (IRA); Northern Ireland; Political influences; Revolutionary or terrorist groups
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=67743

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