Coercive confinement in Ireland

Patients, prisoners and penitents
Author(s): 
O'Sullivan, Eoin
Author(s): 
O'Donnell, Ian
ISBN: 
9780719095450
Date published: 
April 2014
Paperback
Price: 
£19.99

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, now available in paperback after performing superbly in hardback, 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.