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Politically-motivated Former Prisoners and their Families

Professor Kieran McEvoy, Dr. Shadd Maruna, Brian Gormally
Room : G4 University Square
Tel: 028 9097 3400

Funded by Border Action, the general task of this thematic evaluation involves assessing the activities and achievements of a group of ex-prisoner-led reintegration programmes for politically motivated former prisoners in the border region of Ireland. The main focus of this evaluation will be “to identify and assess the peace and reconciliation outcomes and impacts of these projects”. In particular, each project seeks to achieve the following primary goals:

  • Seeking the removal of legal, policy and attitudinal barriers to social, economic and political participation ( 1 )
  • Development of autonomous, ex-prisoner controlled projects, based on the principle of self-help, to promote reintegration
  • Improving skills, knowledge and qualifications to assist participation
  • Meeting personal and family social and psychological needs
  • Developing channels for peaceful social and political activism
  • Developing a leadership role in communities
  • Offering opportunities for reflection and a critical examination of the past conflict
  • Offering opportunities for engagement with opposed currents of political thought and allegiance


For further reading see:

Gormally, Brian and Kieran McEvoy. (1995). Release and Reintegration of Politically Motivated Prisoners in Northern Ireland: A Comparative Study of South Africa, Israel/Palestine, Italy, Spain, The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Belfast. NIACRO.

Gormally, B. (2001), “Conversion from War to Peace: Prisoner Reintegration in Northern Ireland.”  Bonn International Centre for Conversion. Bonn. Also Paper 18

Gormally, B. and McTeggart M. (Justice Associates) Implementing Distinctiveness in the Peace II Programme. SEUPB. Belfast. 2003

Maruna, S. (2001). Making good: How ex-convicts reform and rebuild their lives. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Books.

Maruna, S. & Immarigeon, R. (Eds.) (2004). After Crime and Punishment: Pathways to Ex-Offender Reintegration. Cullompton: Willan Books.

Maruna, S. & LeBel, T. (2003). Welcome Home?: Examining the Reentry Court Concept from a Strengths-based Perspective. Western Criminology Review, 4(2) 91-107.

  McEvoy, K. (1999). “Prisoners, the Agreement and the political character of the Northern Ireland Conflict. Fordham International Law Journal, Volume 22, Number 4, April, pp. 1539-1576.

  McEvoy, K. (2001) Paramilitary Imprisonment in Northern Ireland: Resistance, Management and Release. Oxford. Oxford University Press

(1) The removal of these barriers is a general political and societal responsibility, bearing most heavily, of course, on government. Progress in this regard is an important context for this evaluation and our report will include an assessment of, amongst other things, the progress of the British Government task force on these matters. For the projects themselves, however, the issue here is campaigning for the removal of barriers