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Eoin O'Sullivan & Ian O'Donnell
Coercive Confinement in Ireland: Patients, Prisoners and Penitents.

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 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. These arguments take on special importance as Irish society continues to grapple with the legacy of its extensive use of institutionalisation.

Eoin O’Sullivan (TCD), Judge Sean Ryan, Ian O’Donnell (UCD) at the launch of Coercive Confinement in Ireland: Patients, Prisoners and Penitents on the 28 June

Coercive Confinement in Ireland is published by Manchester University Press and is available in the UCD Campus Bookshop.

Eighth Annual North South Criminology Conference 2012

 The School of Law’s Institute of Criminology hosted the Eighth Annual North South Criminology Conference which was held over two days on 28 June and 29 June. More than a 100 delegates attended the conference, including lawyers, academics, policy makers, civil servants, and voluntary sector professionals.
The overarching theme of the conference was the economy, crime and punishment. This included several sub-themes: crime, punishment and recession; white collar crime; prisons and penal policy; and victims and the criminal justice system.
In all, there were some twenty separate sessions, at which sixty presentations were made. The opening address was given by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ms. Claire Loftus and the keynote address by the distinguished criminologist Professor Richard Wright of the University of Missouri-St.Louis.
Among the highlights of the conference was the formal launch of Professor Ian O’Donnell’s and Professor Eoin O’ Sullivan’s book on Coercive Confinement in Ireland by High Court judge Mr. Justice Sean Ryan.
In his welcoming remarks the Director of the Institute, Professor Paul O’Connor, referred to a key strength of the annual conference, namely, its capacity to combine the academic with the practical and to embrace those who are not only established experts in their field but also those who are in the foothills of their careers. He drew attention to the growing international dimension to the conference and the exposure of the criminology community in Ireland to expertise and developments from abroad. Referring to the North /South dimension he said that emphasis needed to be placed on this and that the annual conference had an important role to play in promoting and developing the profile of the discipline of criminology throughout the island. Professor O’Connor concluded his welcoming remarks by calling for greater research co-operation among the various institutions, particularly at a time of ongoing cutbacks in budgets and overall reduced resources, and thanked the law school for its support of the conference.,126380,en.html

8th North South Irish Criminology Conference 
UCD Quinn School, 28 & 29 June 2012

This year’s conference which takes place in the UCD Quinn School, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4 on the 28th & 29th June, 2012. The general theme of the conference is: Economy, Crime and Punishment. Sub themes include but are not limited to:

  • Crime, Punishment and Recession
  • White Collar Crime
  • Economy, Prisons and Penal Policy
  • Young People, Crime and Justice
  • Victims and the Criminal Justice System

28th June @10.30 Q015

Opening Speaker: Ms Claire Loftus, Director of Public Prosecutions

 28th June @ 18.00 UCD Global Lounge

Book Launch of ‘Coercive Confinement in Ireland: Patients, Prisoners and Penitents

 Address - Mr Justice Sean Ryan, introduced by Professor Paul O’Connor

 29th June @ 9.30 Q015

Opening Speaker, Richard Wright, Curators' Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice and Editor-in-Chief of the British Journal of Sociology.

While there is no registration fee, as in the past, delegates must register in advance - -. The conference is being hosted and administered by the UCD Institute of Criminology      


January 2012

Congratulations to Nicola Hughes who successfully defended her PhD thesis: Reentry and Young Offenders: Exploring the circumstances, expectations and motivations of young offenders prior to their release. Her  examiners were Professor Stephen Farrall (Sheffield University) and Dr Gary O 'Reilly (UCD School of Psychology ).


Dr David Doyle, IRCHSS Postdoctoral Research Fellow, was a  recipient  in the most recent round of scholarships awarded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences. The award for research on 'Capital Punishment: The Irish Experience in Global Perspective' will support additional comparative research in furtherance of Dr Doyle's IRCHSS funded post doctoral research project ‘Capital Crime and Punishment in the Two Irelands 1922 -2002'.

Professor Susan Crawford

Professor Susan Crawford visited the School of Law on Tuesday, December 13th and gave a seminar on the subject of  the Internet, Infrastructure and Communications Law. Professor Crawford is the former special assistant for Science, Technology and Innovation Policy to President Obama. During her time at the White House she was described as Obama’s ‘Internet Tzar’. She is widely regarded as an expert on Communications Law and is currently Professor of Law at Cardozo Law School and a Visiting Scholar at Princeton. Professor Crawford is a graduate of Yale and, until recently, was on the faculty of the law school at the University of Michigan. She will shortly take up an appointment at Harvard. Professor Crawford subscribes to the view that Internet rather than Infrastructure should be at the heart of communications policy.

IRCHSS Postdoctoral Research Fellowship 2011/2012

Dr David Doyle has been recently awarded an IRCHSS Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to conduct research on capital crime and punishment in post-independent Ireland under the mentorship of Professor Ian O’Donnell. The project commences October 2011. David can be contacted at or 353-1-7168722

David M Doyle (2011) '
The guilty sexual predator and the innocent comely maiden. Gender, paternalism and the pregnancy factor', 21(2) Irish Criminal Law Journal 36

Ian O'Donnell (2011) 'Crime and punishment in the Republic of Ireland: A country profile'. International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, 35 (1):69-84.

Ian O'Donnell (2011) 'Criminology, bureaucracy and unfinished business' In: Mary Bosworth and Carolyn Hoyle (eds). What is Criminology?. USA: OUP

FitzPatrick Family Foundation Doctoral Scholarship

UCD Institute of Criminology
Closing Date: Friday April 22nd

The UCD Institute of Criminology, part of UCD’s School of Law, is pleased to offer one doctoral scholarship in the area of criminology/ criminal justice / penology.

Applications are sought from exceptional graduates for a scholarship to undertake on a full-time basis a four year funded PhD programme of research in the fields of criminology, criminal justice, or penology. The scholarship is being generously funded by the FitzPatrick Family Foundation. It is available to candidates commencing their studies in September 2011 and is tenable for a maximum of four years, renewable each year subject to satisfactory progress.
In addition the payment of fees there is an annual stipend of €16,000 per annum (plus a €500 conference attendance allowance) and is open to Irish, EU and International applicants. In the case of non EU applicants any offer is conditional on the applicant demonstrating at the time of accepting the offer that s/he has sufficient funds to supplement the living allowance to cover the cost of living in Dublin. Information for international students contemplating a period of study at UCD is available at:



Congratulations to Claire Hamilton who was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Philosophy on 1 September. Her supervisor was Professor Ian O'Donnell. Claire successfully defended her PhD thesis on 5 May, Reconceptualising Penality: An Exploration of the 'New Punitiveness' in Ireland, Scotland and New Zealand 1976-2006.

Her examiners were Professor Lesley McCara (University of Edinburgh) and Dr Aogán Mulcahy (UCD School of Sociology).

Dr Gavin Barrett, Dr Claire Hamilton, Professor Ian O'Donnell


Congratulations to Joanne O'Toole Byrne who was the successful applicant for the Doctoral Scholarship in Law from 2010-2014.

Joanne will begin her studies in September under the supervision of Professor Ian O'Donnell of the UCD Institute of Criminology. Her provisional thesis title is "Therapeutic Jurisprudence – an increasingly diverse and more prevalent application in and beyond the courtroom"


Dr. Gwen Robinson, Mr Michael Donnellan, Professor Ian O’Donnell, Dr Colin Webster, Ms Maura Butler, Dr Deirdre Healy (seated)

UCD Institute of Criminology
in association with the
Association for Criminal Justice Research and Development

The Dynamics of Desistance: Charting pathways through change


Irish Criminology Research Network

The network established in 2009 comprises of researchers, students, academics and practitioners with an interest in criminology and the Irish criminal justice system. Our members are from a range of academic institutions and agencies north and south of Ireland – and new members are welcome.

Members of the network research and write about crime, criminal justice and criminology in Ireland and further afield. The blog aims to discuss issues of critical concern.


Congratulations to Cormac Behan who successfully defended his PhD thesis on 13 January. Cormac is the first Ad Astra scholar to complete the doctoral programme in law. His examiners were Professor Mick Ryan (University of Greenwich) and Ms Suzanne Egan (UCD School of Law).

Cormac's research examined the level of civic engagement and political participation among prisoners in Ireland, with a particular focus on the extent to which they have exercised their franchise since legislation enabling prisoners to vote was introduced in 2006.

Before beginning his PhD at the UCD Institute of Criminology Cormac taught history and political education in Irish prisons for ten years. He is on the executive board of the Correctional Education Association and on the editorial board of the Journal of Correctional Education. In 2007 he was an Intellectual Life Scholar at the Centre for the Study of Correctional Education, California State University.


A National Study of Survivor, Prosecutor
and Court Responses to Rape
Conor Hanly
with Dr. Deirdre Healy (UCD Institute of Criminology) and Stacey Scriver

€35.00 (Stg£32.95) ISBN 978‐1‐905785‐74‐2 November 2009;

Rape and Justice in Ireland, a groundbreaking book commissioned by the Rape Crisis Network Ireland, is the result of a four‐year independent research study into the process of prosecuting rape cases in Ireland.

This book is an important advance in our understanding of the reasons why so many rape cases are lost from the system during their progress from incident to reporting, to final court hearing, resulting in very low conviction rates for rape in Ireland. The book also offers a unique insight into the Irish justice system as the authors were granted unprecedented access to the files of the DPP, the courts and the direct experiences of survivors of rape.

Part 1 examines the early stages of attrition in rape cases by tracking the experience of rape survivors up to the point where any file goes to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). Part 2 focuses on the attrition rates at the next stage of the criminal justice process. It looks at a larger sample of case files already submitted to the DPP and performs a quantitative analysis on questionnaires on each file completed by DPP staff members. Part 3 describes the further process of attrition as rape cases move through the courts, using a retrospective methodology to analyse court records and trial transcripts over a four‐year period.

The key findings of this research expose the nature of the factors at play in navigating a rape case through the justice system. It shows how the quality of social and official support for survivors is vitally important in order to progress a case, and that survivors as well as officials such as the Gardaí tend to think and act in terms of “real rape” scenarios to the disadvantage of the majority of cases that do not fit that criteria. It also explores the factors that influence the DPP’s decision to prosecute and those put forward in successful and unsuccessful court cases.

Rape and Justice in Ireland concludes with recommendations for comprehensive reform of the justice system to lead to more effective prosecution of rape cases, as well concrete suggestions to help in the prevention of the crime. This is an important and pioneering book.

About the Authors

The lead author is Conor Hanly, lecturer in law at NUI Galway, with assistance from Dr. Deirdre Healy (UCD Institute of Criminology) and Stacey Scriver. The Rape Crisis Network Ireland, the sponsors of the project, is the national representative and coordinating body for the rape crisis sector in Ireland and has 15 member rape crisis centres throughout the island.
The Liffey Press, Ashbrook House, 10 Main Street, Raheny, Dublin 5
Tel: 01‐8511458. Email: Web:


Dr Deirdre Healy, Professor John Jackson, Professor Ian O’Donnell meet representatives of Georgian High Council of Justice

UCD School of Law 19th November

A programme of reform of the judicial system has been underway in Georgia since 2005. The new Criminal Procedure Code, which introduces trial by jury for a limited number of serious crimes, is currently being discussed by parliament and is expected to be implemented from July 2010.

To investigate how the jury system operates in other countries a delegation from the Georgian High Council of Justice visited the UCD Institute of Criminology on 19 November. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss matters such as the selection of jurors, mechanisms for refusal to serve on a jury, types of cases that are dealt with by jury, voting protocols, the use of the jury in civil cases, how trials are covered by the media and whether the system enjoys public trust.

Centre for Criminology
University of Oxford



What is Criminology? 1 – 2 October 2009

1st October: Professor Ian O’Donnell, “Is Criminology Bad for You? Bureaucracy, Public Policy and Unfinished Business,”
Centre for Criminology, Oxford

Criminology Conference 15 & 16 June 2009

The 5th Irish Criminology Conference took place in the Quinn School on 15 and 16 June. More than 100 delegates from Ireland, Britain, Australia and North America assembled on campus to take part in the proceedings. The interest generated by the event was such that even the concluding sessions were packed; The criminology steering committee would like to thank all speakers and delegates who contributed to making this a very successful conference. Conference programme available here

Advanced studies in Criminology and Criminal Justice can be pursued as an LLM or MSc degree in the UCD School of Law.
Applications are invited from graduates holding an excellent degree in sociology, law, politics, psychology, history or another subject relevant to criminology (at least 2.1).
Please go to MSc_PhD Programmes for further information.

UCD Joins the Social Science Research Network: Working Papers in Law, Criminology & Socio-Legal Studies Research Paper Series
The series publishes work in progress from scholars associated with the School of Law at University College Dublin and cognate schools of the University, including visitors and research students, and reflecting a wide range of fields and methodological approaches to understanding legal norms and processes in Ireland, Europe and in international contexts.Subscribe to this Journal: here



Phd Scholarships Available