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Constructing Citizenship: Making Room for Prisoners' Rights

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Abstract:

This article examines the impact of prisoners' rights in the UK and the US in relation to the shift in prisoners' status from a state of social and civil death towards a recognition of their citizenship that is grounded in social inclusion. It argues that the concept of citizenship can be reconstructed to include prisoners and that a rights-based approach is crucial in moving the prisoner from the status of a non-person, who is socially dead, towards citizenship. Only such a reconstruction will lead to improvements in the treatment of prisoners and to the raising of standards in prison; alternative methods, including new managerialist strategies, have failed to achieve significant improvements.

Keywords: citizenship; civil death; prisoners' rights; social death; social exclusion; social inclusion

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09649060802469827

Affiliations: Brunel University, London, England

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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