Counterproductive counterterrorism?: A preliminary examination of the terrorist identity as a social construct of conditions of confinement
Charles Sturt University Australia
School of Science / ECU Security Research Institute
Prisoner classification is an essential component of effective offender management and rehabilitation. However, the detrimental side-effects, such as that of labelling are often neglected. While prisoner classifications are generally assigned based on the level of risk that the offender presents, in certain circumstances, classifications such as that of the former Special Category Status in Northern Ireland and Category AA or Category 5 in New South Wales are reserved for terrorist offenders and are assigned based on the nature of the offence. Coupled with the practice of segregating this offender group from the mainstream prisoner population, and the requirement that they dress differently to their criminal peers, this paper argues that these conditions of confinement act as identity symbols that afford external validation to the terrorist offender's desired and dominant identity. Such practices in Northern Ireland were met with criticism and failure however despite this; New South Wales have implemented practices that arguably mimic many of those from Northern Ireland. As such, there is legitimate concern for the likelihood and consequences of history repeating itself.