Overcrowding crisis in prisons 'out of control'
Published 07/08/2010 | 05:00
THE overcrowding crisis in the country's prisons continued last year.
Mountjoy, Mountjoy Training Unit, the Dochas Centre, St Patrick's Institution, Cork Prison, Limerick's male and female prisons, Cloverhill and Arbour Hill all held more prisoners than their capacities allowed for in 2009.
The most overcrowded jail was Mountjoy's female prison, the Dochas Centre, which operated at 129pc of capacity. Cork Prison operated at 110pc of its capacity, while Mountjoy's male prison operated at 109pc.
The problem was exacerbated by a 63pc jump in the numbers jailed for three months or less, from 3,526 in 2008 to 5,750.
The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) said the figures showed the overcrowding crisis was "out of control".
"This crisis can only be addressed by the Government looking at the legislation and the practice of the courts, in particular at district court level. Sending more persons to jail cannot be the barometer of success in our justice system," said IPRT executive director Liam Herrick.
The Prison Service said 250 extra spaces would be provided by the end of this year by adding 200 spaces at Wheatfield and re-opening the 50-capacity separation unit at Mountjoy.