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Fingal Independent: 'Irish penal policy is at a crossroads'

27th May 2009

Writing in the Fingal Independent, John Manning reports on the IPRT position that penal policy in Ireland is at a crossroads, and that a debate is needed on the future of the prison system in the wake of the collapse of plans to build a super-prison at Thornton Hall. The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) who have stood opposed to the super-prison plans from the beginning.

The article details IPRT's belief that the decision to rethink Thornton Hall presents an opportunity to conduct a general review of spending within the criminal justice system, diverting resources away from building prisons towards crime prevention and supporting communities to address the underlying causes of crime.

'We welcome the statement of the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform that his department will be looking at wider questions about diverting certain categories of offenders away from detention in formulating an alternative plan to replace the current Thornton Hall plans,' Liam Herrick, Executive Director of IPRT, said.

The article cites IPRT recommendations for prison planning to be framed in the context of a wider plan regarding the proper use of imprisonment and the appropriate use of alternatives to custody.

'This expansion of our prison system has been hugely expensive and has not had a measurable impact on reducing crime.'

Read the Fingal Independent article in full here.

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