Irish Penal Reform Trust

Morning Ireland: Disturbances at Mountjoy Prison

15th October 2010

Following reports about riots in Mountjoy Prison last night, IPRT's Liam Herrick talked to Áine Lawlor about how overcrowding has made trouble in Mountjoy Prison inevitable.

Liam pointed out that this is not about isolated incidents, but about a pattern. There have been a number of incidents in Mountjoy over recent years. The Inspector of Prisons and the CPT (Council of Europe Committee for Prevention of Torture) have both identified that Mountjoy is unsafe for staff and prisoners alike, due to overcrowding. This is about whether incidents are foreseeable.

We need a strategy to deal with Mountjoy. It is unmanageable at current overcrowding levels, with the associated problems of escalating violence and drug-use.

It is not a matter of cost; we need to be reducing pressure on the prison system by sending fewer people to prison and by increasing the use of temporary release for those being imprisoned for less serious offences.

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Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.



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