The Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) today launched their annual report. IPRT welcomed the calls from the Dr Maurice Manning, president of the IHRC, for the Government to commit to improving the situation in Irish Prisons.
Also present at the event was Junior Minister Mary White, who stated that it "was time to move on from the Victorian practice of slopping-out". Ironically, when Mountjoy prison opened in 1850 it had in-cell sanitation; the slopping-out practice actually began in the late 1930s, when the toilets were removed from cells.
Minister White also said that slopping-out will end when Thornton Hall is completed in 2014. Taking a closer look at prisoner numbers shows that this is unlikely: Mountjoy currently has 750 inmates while Cork Prison has 280 prisoners who have to slop-out, in overcrowded conditions. However, the first phase of Thornton Hall, if built, will only have 700 places. Unfortunately, the belief that Thornton Hall will bring an end in the medium-term to slopping-out is misguided.