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This book is about the Irish District Court which is a key linchpin in the Irish criminal justice system. The District Court is the court in which all persons charged with criminal offences are initially processed and, despite its limited jurisdiction, it accounts for the majority of committals to Irish prisons. The book presents courtroom based research which unveils the largely hidden decisions and processes of the District Court while also providing valuable insights into Irish policing priorities and practices. The numerous extracts of court proceedings which are interspersed throughout this book provide a detailed and nuanced picture of courtroom actors and courtroom practices and ensure readers acquire an in depth understanding of sentencing decisions and practices.
The book describes the increased presence of foreign defendants in the District Court and considers how this local court has adapted to deal with global citizens. The account presented illustrates that while penal institutions and practices are fashioned to fit the fabric of local societies, in the current era of movement and flux these institutions and practices are also shaped by exogenous forces such as migration, increased mobility and transnational crime. This book will attract readers from a number of different disciples as it provides insights into contemporary Irish society at a time of significant economic and demographic shifts. Although the themes engaged with in this book and the research presented will be of special interest to academics and students of criminology within Ireland, the book touches on issues such as immigration, access to justice, and the role of the courts and the police which also concern those studying Irish society from other perspectives. The book will also be relevant to students of criminology, comparative criminal justice, and criminal justice policy in other modern developed societies. The book is written in an accessible manner which makes it suitable for both under-graduate and post-graduate studies.