Personal Details

Born 5th June 1947, Cork, Ireland


Education and academic qualifications

University College Cork (1965-1969): BA (Hons, 2:1) in English and Economics. Higher Diploma in Education.

London School of Economics (1969-1970): M.Sc. in Economics, specialising in the economics of poor countries and their development.

Manchester College of Education (April-June, 1975): one term full-time training as a remedial teacher.

University of Liverpool (1983): MA in Education, mainly by research into adult literacy.

California State University San Bernardino (March-July 1995): Fulbright Scholar, studying Californian penal institutions and correctional education.

University College Dublin (2009): PhD. Thesis: Resisting the New Punitiveness? Penal Policy in Denmark, Finland and Norway.

Employment/Professional activity

1970-1979: Teacher in secondary and comprehensive schools, and in an adult education college, in Ireland and England.

National Co-ordinator of Prison Education, in the Department of Justice/Irish Prison Service, 1979 – 2009. (Retired December 2009). This involved developing, in conjunction with education bodies from the community, education services for those in prison. These became by far the most substantial structured activity in which Irish prisoners participated.

Extensive involvement in prison education and general penal issues at international level:

  • Chairperson of the Council of Europe Expert Group on prison education, 1984-9. Main author of the Council of Europe’s Recommendation and memorandum, R89(12), Education in Prison (available on


  • Founder member of the European Prison Education Association (EPEA), and its first Chairperson, 1991-96. Board member of US-based Correctional Education Association (CEA), 1998-2002.
  • Published a wide range of papers on prison education and penal policy, in Europe and North America.

Since retirement from the public service in December 2009, engaged in research and writing relating to prison education, penal policy and prison conditions, including contributing substantially to the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice publication, The Irish Prison System: Vision, Values, Reality, 2012 (available on and co-editing (with Eoin Carroll) Re-imagining Imprisonment in Europe: Effects, Failures and the Future (Dublin: Liffey Press, 2014). Was adjunct lecturer in the School of Applied Social Science in University College Dublin (2012-2017) and Board member of the Irish Penal Reform Trust (2012-2016).

Currently, part-time lecturer on BA course in Criminology in University College Cork and in Department of Applied Social Studies in NUI Maynooth.

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