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Paramilitary Imprisonment in Northern IrelandResistance, Management, and Release$
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Kieran McEvoy

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198299073

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198299073.001.0001

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Managerialism, 1981–2000

Managerialism, 1981–2000

(p.250) 10 Managerialism, 1981–2000
Paramilitary Imprisonment in Northern Ireland

Kieran McEvoy

Oxford University Press

This chapter develops a model referred to as managerialism which characterised the management of prisons in Northern Ireland from the period after the 1980/1 hunger strikes until the present day. The distinct features of this model included an increased acceptance that the prison system could not defeat political violence and a tendency to view the management of paramilitary prisoners as a technical rather than ideological endeavour. It is argued that the Prison Service was increasingly affected by changes elsewhere in the British public sector designed to transform such bureaucracies into more efficient, effective, and value for money endeavours. While such changes did not directly impact on prison management until the late 1980s, they provided a legitimising framework or organisational language of scientific and instrumentalist discourses for a set of practices which had emerged independently in the prisons after the hunger strike era. The chapter also argues that managerialism was characterised by attempts to demarcate and limit the power of paramilitary prisoners, as well as the emergence of greater autonomy and self-confidence amongst prison managers in the formulation of policy with less ministerial interference.

Keywords:   British public sector, Prison Service, paramilitary prisoners, prison managers, autonomy

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