While a doctoral student at Trinity College in the 1970s, Paul O’Mahony also did research for penal reform groups. Then, from 1981 to 1993, he worked in the Prisons Division of the Department of Justice. Word had it that the Department of Justice didn’t really want a social psychologist focused on research – but they got one anyway courtesy of the Civil Service Commission. They were fairly ok with psychologists looking inside people’s heads, but not so keen at looking at wider issues such as the lives those in prison experienced, their backgrounds and the social issues which brought them
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