Soldiering on? The prison-military complex and ex-military personnel as prison officers: transition, rehabilitation and reform

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Arguing that criminology has thus far inadequately theorised militarism as it relates to the prison system, this agenda-setting paper introduces the ‘prison-military complex’ as a means to initiate examination of militarism in relation to institutions and practices of incarceration. In so doing, it identifies a key knowledge gap vis-a-vis the role of ex-military personnel employed as prison staff, and poses key questions about the ways in which military staff and military methods are being directly targeted as a means to reform a prison service reeling from unprecedented levels of violence and self-harm, and recent riots and escapes. Encouraging criminologists to think beyond stereotypical ideas about the military, the paper revolves around a multiscalar articulation of the prison-military complex, discussed as it relates to reform of the prison system as a whole; the rehabilitation of offenders; and individuals’ ex-military transitions to civilian life.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-239
Number of pages20
JournalThe Howard Journal of Criminal Justice
Issue number2
Early online date16 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • ex‐military personnel, militarism, military‐civilian transition, military discipline, prison‐military complex, prison reform