New book on Prison Policy in Ireland by DIT Lecturer

Prison Policy in Ireland: Politics, Penal-welfarism and Political Imprisonment by Mary Rogan


Professor Mick Ryan, University of Greenwich, author Dr. Mary Rogan, Senator Ivana Bacik and Judge Michael Reilly at the launch of “Prison Policy in Ireland: Politics, Penal-welfarism and Political Imprisonment”

1st July 2011

A number of Judges, Lawyers, Politicians, Presidents and Professors gathered in the evocative surroundings of Kilmainham Gaol last night for the launch of “Prison Policy in Ireland”, a new book by Mary Rogan of DIT’s School of Social Science and Law.  

This book is the first examination of the history of prison policy in Ireland. Despite sharing a legal and penal heritage with the United Kingdom, Ireland’s prison policy has taken a different path.   As well as investigating and describing prison policy in Ireland since the foundation of the state in 1922, Dr. Rogan analyses the factors influencing policy during this period and explores links between prison policy and the wider social, economic, political and cultural development of the Irish State.


Dr. Mary Rogan, DIT, pictured at the launch of her new book on the history of prison policy in Ireland

Speaking at the launch, Senator Ivan Bacik praised the detailed approach adopted by the author.  She said Dr. Rogan’s work provides an extremely valuable history of Irish prison policy  where such existed, but also highlights the absence of policy at various stages of that history.  Summing up, Senator Bacik said she hoped that, when Dr. Rogan comes to write the second edition of this book, that steps will have been taken and a new chapter will be added, entitled “Progress”. 

Other speakers at the launch included Professor Brian Norton, President of DIT; Liam Herrick, Executive Director of the Irish Penal Reform Trust; and Professor Mick Ryan, University of  Greenwich who officially launched the book.


Professor Brian Norton, President of DIT, speaking at the launch

“Prison Policy in Ireland: Politics, Penal-welfarism and Political Imprisonment”  will be of special interest to students of criminology in Ireland, but also of relevance to students of comparative criminal justice, criminology and criminal justice policy making in the UK and beyond.  It explores how Irish prison policy has come to take on its particular character, with comparatively low prison numbers, significant reliance on short sentences and a policy-making climate in which long periods of neglect are interspersed with bursts of political activity all prominent features. Drawing on the emerging scholarship of policy analysis, the book argues that it is only through close attention to the way in which policy is formed that we will fully understand the nature of prison policy.    In addition, the book examines the effect of political imprisonment in the Republic of Ireland, which, until now, has remained relatively unexplored.


Liam Herrick, Executive Director of the Irish Penal Reform Trust

Among those gathered for the official launch of the book in Kilmainham Gaol last night were Judge Michael Reilly, Inspector of Prisons; David Stanton TD, Chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice; Peter McVerry, SJ of the Peter McVerry Trust; Professor Kathleen Lynch, UCD Equality Studies Centre; Dr. Kevin Lalor, Head of the DIT School of Social Sciences and Law; and Ms Brid Grant, Director and Dean of the College of  Arts and Tourism in DIT.

Dr. Mary Rogan is Lecturer in Socio-Legal Studies at Dublin Institute of Technology. Her research interests include prison policy, criminal justice policy-making, penal reform, prison law, penal politics and the history of punishment. She is a qualified barrister and current Chairperson of the Irish Penal Reform Trust.

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