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Crime Prison and Punishment

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Report Slams Irish Prisons

category ireland / britain | crime prison and punishment | opinion / analysis author Monday December 03, 2007 22:41author by ronan - Workers Solidarity Movement Report this post to the editors

A report by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture has found that conditions in several Irish prisons are extremely unsafe.

It reported that in Mountjoy, Limerick Prison and St Patrick’s in particular a high level of violence and intimidation between prisoners is the norm. It stated that the principal causes for this violence are a high level of drug use as well as a lack of purposeful activity for prisoners. The problems are only likely to get worse over the next few years as the number of drug gang members in prison increases.

The government’s response has only been to increase the screening of visitors to the jail to try and prevent drug smuggling rather than doing anything about the conditions that cause violence in prisons. The Irish prisons have appalling conditions, they’re dingy, unhygienic and are severely overcrowded. Not only that, but a massive number of Irish prisoners have histories of addiction problems and severe mental health issues. A report by the Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine found that 60% of female and 35% of male prisoners had suffered from a psychological illness in their lives, 65% and 80% had a drug or alcohol disorder in the previous six months and 40% and 25% had committed self harm. These problems cannot be dealt with by the prison services; their usual response is to hold someone in solitary ‘observation cells’, a treatment which often does more harm than good.

While the government likes to talk tough about ‘fighting crime’ what they really mean is fighting criminals and ignoring the social causes of crime. In Ireland there are unquestionable connections between crime, mental illness and social disadvantage. Continuing to shunt people with mental health and addiction problems into the prison service without providing treatment alternatives just maintains the cycle of disadvantage that causes crime and anti-social behaviour.

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textPrison Officers to walk away with 60 million in north as sectarian legacy continues in prisons 21:03 Fri 11 Nov by Sean Matthews 0 comments

The sixty million payoff to prison officers in Northern Ireland could be much better spent on addressing the causes of crime such as poverty, social deprivation and prison rehabilitation. Prison officers who served during the Troubles could walk away from their jobs with packages of more than £120,000 plus pension as part of a £60m redundancy programme aimed at ‘modernising’ the service.

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As the economic crisis deepens in Ireland, brutal conditions worsen in it's already overcrowded prisons. Of course the incarcerated are almost exclusively from the poorest sections of society, and the real criminals who have brought economic blight upon the country will never see the inside of a cell or have to endure slopping out.

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textFree Ronnie Biggs Jul 04 by Sean Matthews- personal capacity 0 comments

The refusal by British Justice Secretary Jack Straw to grant the great train robber Ronnie Biggs parole exposes the extent of injustice and corruption which underpins the class system.

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In northern Ireland District Policing Partnerships (DPPs) were set up by the Policing Board in conjunction with local councils in early 2003 to provide “accountable and effective” policing

textGarda Brutality in Ireland : Business As Usual Jul 22 by Shuana Maguire 0 comments

The so-called investigation into the death of Donegal man Richie Barron has turned out to be a cesspool of all that is rotten and corrupt about our police force; harassment, intimidation and attempts to frame the McBrearty family. Their punishment - a transfer to Dublin! What an insult to the people of both Donegal and Dublin.

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