Judge Mary Ellen Ring: Locking up women offenders is not always best solution
On November 30, 2012, there were 122 females in the women's prison in Dublin – the Dochas Centre. On that same day there were 3,588 men in the male prisons throughout the State. The average cost of an available staffed prison space for the calendar year 2012 was €65,404. Twenty years ago in the 1992 Annual Report on Prisons, the number of women in custody on January 1, 1992, was 25.
The recently completed research by the Association for Criminal Justice Research and Development on the needs of women prisoners is a timely reminder of a challenge that as a society we should be able to tackle and control, if not overcome.
Entitled 'Tracking the Needs and Service Provision for Women Ex- Prisoners', it is the work of Rosemarie McHugh from the research proposal created by Sarah Sheridan. It is a study that takes a snapshot of the lives of 16 women who were interviewed while in the Dochas Centre in Dublin.