chapter  Chapter 39
Prisons and detention
Reflections on the Northern Ireland experience
ByJacqueline Bates-Gaston
Pages 14

There has been improved overall transparency in the difficulties and challenges in managing terrorist prisoners in Northern Ireland. These are recorded in the deliberations and work of bodies like the House of Commons Select Committees on Northern Ireland Affairs (HCSC on NI Affairs), the Criminal Justice Inspectorate (CJINI), the Prisoner Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI) and the devolved Committee for Justice (CJNI). The chapter seeks to analyse these documents to inform the understanding of the complicated processes and strategies employed, mainly by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) but also by the Loyalists, in undermining security and safety, and in establishing control of space and authority within prisons. It reflects briefly on how prison management can use this experience to inform policies in the future. The chapter suggests initiatives for improving the processes and systems and provides comments on recruitment and disengagement and on the support needs of staff who are required to work in these emotionally challenging situations.