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thejournal.ie: 'Focus should be on better conditions – not more prisons'

7th November 2011

Aoife Barry reports on IPRT's reaction to the latest prisoner figures in an article on thejournal.ie On 20th October 2011, there were 4,275 prisoners in custody and 755 on temporary release; although this represents a slight decrease on April figures, when there were 4,587 in custody, prisoner numbers are still far above design capacity.

Responding to the latest figures, the Irish Penal Reform Trust has restated that the government should place an emphasis on improving the substandard conditions experienced in Irish prisons – not on building more of them.

"Prison expansion will not and cannot solve overcrowding, and will not make our communities safer – it will only serve to increase the prisoner population, putting further financial burden on the taxpayer”.

The article cites Liam Herrick further:

"Ireland’s prisons are still chronically overcrowded and running far above design capacity, particularly in the prisons with the worst physical conditions – Mountjoy and Cork – where hundreds of prisoners have to slop out in shared cells."

IPRT believes that any prison building programme should address substandard prison conditions, rather than being used to expand the number of prison places.

The article also details the response of Minister Shatter to the prison figures.

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