Kieran McEvoy


This Essay first explores the historical context of prisoner release in Ireland, North and South. Second, the role of prisoners in the process of conflict resolution in the 1990s is examined in the periods before and after the breakdown of the first IRA cease- fire. The provisions within the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent legislation are then analyzed in so far as they relate to prisoner release as an incentive for peace among organizations outside the peace process, decommissioning, the victims of violence, and prisoner reintegration. Finally, this Essay argues that the "prisoner issue" represents a crucial acknowledgement by the British government of the political character of the conflict and suggests that such a view will be required by all the protagonists if the Agreement is to survive.