Gender and punishment in Ireland

Women, murder and the death penalty, 1922-64

By Lynsey Black

Gender and punishment in Ireland


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4528-4
  • Pages: 312
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: April 2022
  • BIC Category: Gender & The Law, Humanities / 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Ireland, HISTORY / Europe / Ireland, HISTORY / Women, HISTORY / Social History, LAW / Legal History, History, Irish History, Modern History


Gender and punishment in Ireland explores women's lethal violence in Ireland. Drawing on comprehensive archival research, including government documents, press reporting, the remnants of public opinion and the voices of the women themselves, the book contributes to the burgeoning literature on gender and punishment and women who kill. Engaging with concepts such as 'double deviance', chivalry, paternalism and 'coercive confinement', the work explores the penal landscape for offending women in postcolonial Ireland, examining in particular the role of the Catholic Church in responses to female deviance. The book is an extensive interdisciplinary treatment of women who kill in Ireland and will be useful to scholars of gender, criminology and history.


'Beautifully written and comprehensively researched, this book is a vital addition to historical and criminological work on women, murder and punishment. Extending the literature on women who kill, Black goes beyond a focus on gender representation alone to examine the complex dynamics that influenced conviction, sentencing and punishment of women accused of murder in Ireland in the decades after independence. Distinct from existing research on women accused of murder, she traces their experiences of punishment, including what happened to women reprieved from the death penalty. A particularly fascinating aspect of Gender and punishment in Ireland is Black's analysis of the use of religious detention in Ireland's "shadow system of penalty" as a disposal, which further develops feminist penology on gender and mixed economies of punishment. As such, this book is highly recommended for its combination of rigorous empirical research and fresh conceptual insight.'
Professor Lizzie Seal, University of Sussex


1 Women prosecuted for murder
2 Clemency for the condemned
3 Insanity
4 Sentencing and punishment
5 Post-reprieve punishment of death-sentenced women
6 Motherhood and child-killing
7 Marriage and sexuality
8 Rural lives and class
Conclusion Women's lethal violence in Ireland


Lynsey Black is Lecturer in Criminology at Maynooth University

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