The Irish Prison Chaplains Annual Report for 2010 describes Ireland's prisons policy as a "disaster", and is strongly critical of the Dept of Justice, the Irish Prison Service and the Minister for Justice. The media also comes under censure for its sensationalisation of some prisoner releases.
There are 27 prison chaplains, priests, religious and lay people, working in 14 prisons in Ireland. They work every day with men and women who are imprisoned, and their families.
The report states: “conditions in many of our prisons are an insult to the decency of any human being and an affront to the basic tenets of decency.” According to the report, overcrowding was so serious this year that on one night during the summer, 129 prisoners in Mountjoy had no beds to sleep in and some did not have a mattress to lie on. In addition, St Patrick’s Institution for young people and children (16 to 21) is highlighted as a cause of serious concern.
The report concludes “Current prison policy is a disaster for both prisons and society. Making our prisons safer and drug free is in everyone’s interest. The only obstacle is political will."
Download the report here.