U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Citizenship and Social Exclusion: The Re-Integration of Political Ex-Prisoners in Northern Ireland

NCJ Number
British Journal of Criminology Volume: 47 Issue: 3 Dated: May 2007 Pages: 423-438
Grainne McKeever
Date Published
May 2007
16 pages
This article examines the social reintegration of political ex-prisoners in Northern Ireland.
The main argument is that following the conflicts in Northern Ireland, it is imperative to ease the social reintegration of political ex-prisoners in order to facilitate the movement toward a more normal political environment in this country. The author begins by noting that the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland called for the need to treat political prisoners differently from other prisoners and to facilitate their successful reintegration into society by providing support both prior to and following release. It is argued that the second imperative, to ease the reintegration of political prisoners back into society, has been largely ignored. One of the main reasons may lie in its ambiguity. The author warns that ignoring the plight of political ex-prisoners as they attempt to successfully integrate themselves into society may arise in a series of individual tragedies as well as a possible destabilization of the entire governmental reform effort in Northern Ireland. In making this argument, the author reviews core writings on citizenship and transition and contends that Northern Ireland, as a transition society, does not fit into the standard analyses of transition countries. Some of the reasons Northern Ireland does not fit into these traditional models of transition is due to the undefined and contested nature of the state, the issue to state legitimacy, and the decision by ex-prisoners to self-exclude from citizenship by withholding legitimacy from the state. An analysis of political ex-prisoners’ relationship with the state is analyzed using interviews with ex-prisoner support groups. This analysis reveals that problems with ex-prisoner citizenship are squarely rooted in problems of poverty and social exclusion. The author considers how to develop an inclusive model of transitional citizenship for Northern Ireland and how to address poverty and social exclusion. Footnotes, references


No download available