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Reformers want prisoners freed earlier

A GROUP campaigning for prison reform has said remission on prisoners' sentences should be increased to one-third in a bid to ease overcrowding which has led to a "pressure cooker" atmosphere in the country's jails.

The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice also called on prison authorities to reinstate the "one person, one cell" principle as the norm for all future prison building.

It said future prisons should be small, housing 100 prisoners or fewer, and should be dispersed more widely around the country.

Launching the centre's report, 'The Irish Prison System: Vision, Values and Reality', in Dublin yesterday, former governor of Mountjoy Prison, John Lonergan, said: "Every human being needs time on their own. If you're in prison, doubled-up, you never have a moment alone."

Irish Independent