The Prison and National Identity: Citizenship, Punishment and the Sovereign State
In D. Scott. (2013). Why Prison? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
19 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2014
Date Written: 2013
Over the past decade, nationality has become an increasingly central topic in incarceration practices. In England and Wales, foreign national prisoners are now identified to immigration authorities, transferred into specific prisons for ‘foreigners’, and in some cases, are detained indefinitely in prisons under immigration powers after the conclusion of their criminal sentences. These developments have been met and propelled by the growth of the immigration detention estate, which since 1993 has expanded to 10 times its original size. Today, at any given moment, more than 13,000 foreign nationals are incarcerated in a web of different custodial institutions, some governed by the criminal law, others beyond its reach. In this context, criminologists can no longer treat the prison as an institution bounded by the nation-state. Instead, we need to examine how the prison produces the nation-state and reaffirms its sovereignty. Seeking to start that discussion, this chapter draws on the voices of prisoners and detainees to explore the prison’s role in migration control. Comparing testimonies from ‘foreigners’ in a range of British incarceration facilities, we argue that the prison works together with the detention centre to promote an exclusionary notion of British citizenship reifying the link between citizenship, sovereignty, and rights.
Keywords: Prison, National Identity, Punishment, Citizenship
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