Female IRA ex-combatants: Political protest and the prison experience

A. Wahidin

Nottingham Trent University

During the Conflict in Northern Ireland, the criminal justice system played a central and visible role in containing, managing and repressing social disorder and hence, became associated indelibly with issues of the state. Although much has been written about the recent political struggles in Northern Ireland, too often it has been women’s experiences of imprisonment which have been silenced and under explored. The aim of this paper is to address the lacunae and question why women should be so marginalised when they played such a pivotal in the Conflict. Furthermore, this paper will examine how incarceration was transformed into an arean for political resistance and chart key moments such as the: the escape, the no wash protest, the hunger strike in the history of Armagh gaol.


Professor Azrini Wahidin joined Nottingham Trent University in 2013. Prior to joining NTU, she established and headed up the Criminology programme at Queen’s University, Belfast, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work. She has published and researched widely on both prisoners and uniformed staff, the female estate, older offenders, political prisoners, transitional justice and young people transitioning out of custody. He forthcoming book is entitled: ex-combatants, Gender and Peace in Northern Ireland. Women, Political Protest and the Prison Experience. Palgrave Press.


The society is devoted to promoting criminological study, research and practice in the region and bringing together persons engaged in all aspects of the field. The membership of the society reflects the diversity of persons involved in the field, including practitioners, academics, policy makers and students.

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