have been reading with great interest this weeks edition
of 'The Blanket' and as usual it was a fantastic
read. However, I know that the Blanket is more
than just an ex-prisoners journal and so I have a
bit to say on Mr. Richards articles.
Mr. Richards piece in this weeks edition reads like
a resume for employment. However, my main critique
is of his article in a previous issue called 'What
is the new school of criminology'. I hope you
dont mind if I make a few observations on this piece.
almost the entire discipline of sociology is dominated
by American research and then adapted to meet the
needs of different countries.
it deals mainly with ODC's and not what we have here
in the north of Ireland (what Mr. Richards' would
call a special group), republican prisoners. Mr Richard's
should take note of what Jimmy
Bradley had to say on this: "that we are
not and never have been ordinary criminals. It is
no crime in my eyes for Irish Republicans to assert
in arms the right of the Irish people to self-determination."
My point being that 'we' dont fit into this new school
of criminology, for the reasons already outlined,
the U.S. dominance and being political as opposed
to ordinary 'criminals'.
Richards is advocating a new discipline to be led
mainly by those who have personal experience of their
craft. This is too subjective even for a soft science
Richards' group is too elitist despite his cry of
inclusion. Many ex-cons devoid of Phd's have written
excellent books on prison life, the latest being 'You've
got nothing coming' by Jimmy Lerner.
If Mr. Richards is not careful he will end up going
native as a professor in his ivory tower, despite
what he says. Also I could add that if Mr. Richards
wanted a public study in going native he should look
no further than Sinn Fein in Stormont. That is one
of the best public experiments of going native outside
the United States.
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