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Graduate Student Pre-Conference Symposium Resources

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Violent and Disruptive Behaviour in the Irish Prison Service: An Examination of Current Management

Presenter: Orla Gallagher


The Irish Prison Service (IPS) define violent and disruptive prisoner (VDP) behaviour as that involving repetitive and serious violence towards others, and posing operational difficulties within prison. Presently, such prisoners reside in highly secure locations with highly restrictive regimes. This study (in progress1) aims to examine the experiences of prisoners being managed this way, and Prison Officers involved in implementing this management.
Additionally, the IPS are currently developing a specialised unit for the assessment, management and treatment of VDP behaviour, co-led by operational and psychology staff. The unit will be continually examined throughout the four-year period of a doctoral research project. Thus, results of the current study will be compared with those of future studies on the unit.
The study utilises a mixed methodology, involving qualitative semi-structured interviews, quantitative scale measures (Essen Climate Evaluation Schema, HSE Management Standards Indicator Tool, Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale, Prison Locus of Control Scale and Maudsley Violence Questionnaire), and quantitative IPS file records of violent and disruptive incidents. This study will facilitate greater understandings of how VDP behaviour is currently experienced and managed in the IPS. Results can be used to inform best practice and policy in the new unit, and compared with those of subsequent studies on the unit.

Presentation: “Violent and Disruptive Prisoner Behaviour in the Irish Prison Service: An Examination of Current Management” by Orla Gallagher PhD student at University College Dublin (UCD) & the Irish Prison Service (IPS) Supervised by Prof. Gary O’ Reilly (UCD) & Dr Emma Black (IPS)

Challenges to Reintegration: Reentry Barriers Encountered by Ex-convicts in Halfway Houses

Presenter: Marie-Ève Dubois


Reintegration is a difficult process where an offender can have access to services in order to become an autonomous citizen, integrated to his community and law-abiding. Since reintegration programs are usually more effective when they are centered on offenders needs, this qualitative study, in partnership with a community organization in Montreal, seeks for a better understanding of challenges encountered by ex-convicts at reentry. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 16 halfway houses residents and 8 staff members to achieve this main objective. Results from content analysis highlight six categories of reentry challenges, those being challenges directly related to offense, challenges related to first days following release, structural challenges, relational challenges, challenges linked to stigmatization and challenges related to living in halfway houses. The study also compares federal and provincial experience of reentry, showing how longer sentence and shorter transition period can affect community reintegration. Furthermore, sexual offender’s experience was compared to challenges encountered by people who committed other types of crime and it seems that this sample of ex-convicts is facing greater barriers according to greater stigmatization and conditions of parole. Shedding light on particular characteristics of such subgroups and reaching a great understanding of reentry challenges allowed us to take an interest in the complementarity of organization’s program and community services with the difficulties which are facing their users. Implications for interventions in the field of reentry are discussed.

Presentation: “Challenges to Reintegration: Reentry Barriers Encountered by Ex-convicts in Halfway Houses” by Marie-Ève Dubois – M.Sc. criminology, Ph.D. Candidate

For corrections or more information on any of the information on this page please contact Sarah Harrison at

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