14th October 2015
IPRT welcomes the announcement of additional funding for the Probation Service in Budget 2016, along with renewed commitments by Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD to provide capital funding towards the elimination of slopping out in the Irish prison system. This follows increased investment in youth diversion projects and initiatives announced earlier in 2015.
Irish penal policy has previously been characterised by a wasteful overemphasis on imprisonment, and underinvestment in crime prevention measures and measures to reduce reoffending. To this end, IPRT welcomes budget announcements this week as a move in the right direction. Criminal justice policy cannot be viewed in isolation from social policy. Any effective response to crime must include investment in early intervention to combat social and educational disadvantage in marginalised communities, coupled with investment in measures to reintegrate former offenders and reduce reoffending.
Elimination of Slopping Out
Minister Fitzgerald's renewed commitment to providing funding to the Irish Prison Service towards the elimination of slopping out in the prison estate - "a key commitment in the Programme for Government" - includes the completion of Limerick Prison and refurbishment work at E Block in Portlaoise. Slopping out ended in Mountjoy Prison with the closing of the D Wing, and the new Cork Prison is expected to be completed by end 2015.