Source: (2009) Theoretical Criminology. 13(1):31-59.

Drawing upon criminological studies in the field of prisoner rehabilitation, this essay explores the relevance of the Demobilisation, Disarmament and Reintegration (DDR) framework to the process of conflict transformation in Northern Ireland. In a similar fashion to the critique of ‘passivity’ offered by, for example, the ‘strengths based’ or ‘good lives’ approach to prisoner resettlement and reintegration more generally, the authors contend that the Northern Ireland peace process offers conspicuous examples of former prisoners and combatants as agents and indeed leaders in the process of conflict transformation. They draw out three broad styles of leadership which have emerged amongst ex-combatants over the course of the Northern Ireland transition from conflict—political, military and communal. They suggest that cumulatively such leadership speaks to the potential of ex-prisoners and ex-combatants as moral agents in conflict transformation around which peacemaking can be constructed rather than as obstacles which must be ‘managed’ out of existence. (author's abstract)