IPRT Executive Director Liam Herrick spoke on RTE's 'The Late Debate' on the issue of Kathleen McMahon's shock resignation as Governor of the Dóchas Centre and her criticisms of the current regime.
Responding to earlier comments by Brian Purcell that prisons were obligated to accept committals, Liam highlighted the circular nature of the debate, and commented that it was pointless to dwell on this particular detail as it did not hold out the prospect of a meaningful solution.
Citing the expansion of the prison population as a 'political phenomenon', Liam said that criticisms of the current system were neither political or personal, rather, the policies have been ongoing for years now, and Deputy Ahern is merely the most recent incumbent at the Department. However, the matter had now come to a head and it was within Ahern's remit to radically overhaul the policy.
Appealing to the benefits to society generally if such a change was to take place, Liam outlined that prison, as it is currently used, is expensive and ineffective. He mentioned such alternatives which must be considered, ranging from greater use of community service orders to the Fines Bill currently under debate.
Listen to Tuesday 27th's 'The Late Debate' here (scroll to 36 minutes).