Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Coercive Confinement in Ireland: Patients, Prisoners and Penitents

New book below by Ian O'Donnell and Eoin O'Sullivan. A description by Fintan O'Toole in the Irish Times. Abstract below. 

"This book provides an overview of the incarceration of tens of thousands of men, women and children during the first fifty years of Irish independence. Psychiatric hospitals, mother and baby homes, Magdalen homes, Reformatory and Industrial schools, prisons and Borstal formed a network of institutions of coercive confinement that was integral to the emerging state. The book provides a wealth of contemporaneous accounts of what life was like within these austere and forbidding places as well as offering a compelling explanation for the longevity of the system and the reasons for its ultimate decline. While many accounts exist of individual institutions and the factors associated with their operation, this is the first attempt to provide a holistic account of the interlocking range of institutions that dominated the physical landscape and, in many ways, underpinned the rural economy. Highlighting the overlapping roles of church, state and family in the maintenance of these forms of social control, this book will appeal to those interested in understanding twentieth-century Ireland: in particular, historians, legal scholars, criminologists, sociologists and other social scientists. These arguments take on special importance as Irish society continues to grapple with the legacy of its extensive use of institutionalisation."

Ian O'Donnell is Professor of Criminology at University College Dublin and Adjunct Fellow of Linacre College, Oxford Eoin O Sullivan is Head of the School of Social Work and Social Policy and Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin

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