By Peter Shirlow
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Additional info for Beyond the Wire: Former Prisoners and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland
Despite the historical and contemporary significance of those challenges, comparatively little has been written about the particular Shirlow 01 intro 25 12/11/07 14:44:13 26 Beyond the Wire demands of managing such prisoners. Notwithstanding the immense variety of contexts of and responses to political violence, there are broad commonalities in penal policy which remain detectable. For current purposes, these can be divided into three broad styles of prison management. , 2007). They are ‘reaction, containment and negotiation’ (1969–75); ‘criminalisation, repression and the denial of political motivation’ (1976–81); and ‘managerialism, bureaucratisation and political prisoners as a “scientific” challenge’ (1981 onwards).
Within Republicanism, the ‘line’ was transformed from a stance wherein members used to refuse to recognise the legitimacy of the courts to one wherein every case was fought regardless of the chance for success. 14 HUNGER STRIKE AND DEATH: RESISTANCE AS SELF-SACRIFICE The use of hunger strike as a strategy of resistance or protest in political, ethnic and social conflicts is well documented. It has been used by suffragettes (Christensen-Nelson, 2004), students, pacifists and human rights activists (Bennett, 2003; Zhao, 2004), veterans protesting against war (Nicosia, 2004), as well as doctors protesting over conditions for themselves or their patients (Kenyon, 1999).
Indeed, one of the guiding principles of managerialism may be to seek to quarantine, where possible, the power and influence of political prisoners. Neither is it necessarily a deliberately benign form of prison management. However, much of the certainty and rationality of the managerialist model requires greater deference to legality, an acceptance that the power of staff is inevitably checked by international human rights standards and an acknowledgement that such safeguards are ‘in the final analysis’ useful in preventing prison mismanagement.