A new publication by Eoin O’Sullivan and Ian O’Donnell appears to making an impact outside academia, with a very favourable review from the Irish Times, and a further article from Fintan O’Toole in which he describes it as a ‘a very important book’.
In Coercive Confinement in Post-Independence Ireland O’Sullivan and O’Donnell develop an integrative framework to explain how and why Ireland maintained such a huge ‘carceral archipelago’. Rather than focus on prison as the main place of incarceration they chart the staggering numbers of people coercively confined in a web of institutions such as Magdalen laundries, industrial schools and psychiatric hospitals. They find that along with the Church and State the family was a fundamental part of the explanation which prior to this publication had been sidelined.
A further feature of the book is the use of contemporary rather than reflective articles discussing these various institutions of confinement. These challenge the retrospective belief that these institutions were clandestine, operating below the radar of society.
The authors kindly joined The Differential Association recently to discuss their book, a review of which describes it as having important lessons for Ireland and Criminology alike.
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