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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Sucessfully submitted for the award of Masters in Criminology to the Technological University Dublin, 2008.


Although Ireland compares relatively well in terms of international crime rates, there has been an increase in the number of prisoners serving life-sentences in the Republic. The current system for managing life-sentence prisoners in this jurisdiction is that they are likely to earn their temporary release after having served about fifteen years in prison. However, there is limited research in Ireland on the effects of imprisonment, and certainly for life-sentence prisoners, criminology in the Republic has failed to examine the issues faced by this group at all. Very little is understood about the coping mechanisms specific to life-sentence prisoners; the challenges they face in terms of their prison experience and resettlement. This paper focuses on the direct consequences of imprisonment – the psycho-sociological impact of time spent in prison and how this bears upon life-sentence prisoners‟ resettlement. These issues are tackled through examining available literature, both within Ireland and internationally and by interviewing life-sentence prisoners on temporary release in the community. The researcher has identified the issues faced by life-sentence prisoners within the prison walls; the varying coping methods employed; and resettlement experiences. It is found that although there are some common themes, the experiences of this group of prisoners can vary enormously. The study concludes that not enough is known about the challenges faced by life-sentence prisoners and considerably more research needs to be carried out.