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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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Reactive Containment, 1969–1975

Reactive Containment, 1969–1975

(p.204) 8 Reactive Containment, 1969–1975
Paramilitary Imprisonment in Northern Ireland

Kieran McEvoy

Oxford University Press

This chapter proposes a model referred to as reactive containment which characterised the management of prisons until 1976 in Northern Ireland. Reactive containment is described as a relatively crude military model for the management of paramilitary prisoners and, to an extent, the broader conflict in Northern Ireland. The British authorities reacted to the loss of control by the Unionist government by dispatching troops to regain control, and seeking to contain levels of violence and violent perpetrators while a political solution was found. Internment, Special Category Status, and the Diplock Courts are all examined as ways of detaining and processing large numbers of terrorists and terrorist suspects. It is argued that this style of prison management was characterised by a recognition of the political character of the inmates; the facilitation of negotiations between the prison authorities and paramilitary commanders; and no real efforts being made to deny the prisoners' assertion of their political status.

Keywords:   reactive containment, prison management, Internment, Special Category Status, Diplock Courts, paramilitary prisoners

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