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Irish Times: Prison not the only answer

10th August 2010

An article in today's Irish Times makes a clear and concise argument for reform of our penal system.

The over-crowding crisis as well as the lack of rehabilitation that are characteristic of many Irish prisons are a damning indictment of the government's unwillingness to embrace penal reforms.

Moreover, the opportunity for creating evidence-led penal policy has never been easier. There's a considerable amount of international evidence we can look to which proves that using community orders are a far more effective way of reducing re-offending and preventing crime. 

The article highlights the penal system in Norway. Essentially, prison is used as a measure of last resort there, with many offenders being given community orders rather then short sentences. This approach certainly sits in stark contrast to Ireland, where more then half of last years committals were for 6 months or less.

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Irish Times: Prison not the only answer

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