Prison's purpose has been compromised
Change is needed when petty offenders are jailed while the revolving door allows repeat offenders to commit crimes at will.
Prison was much in the news last week. Two bankers avoided going to jail despite being convicted of breaking the law. It was revealed that last year more than 400 people who did not pay their TV licence did go to jail. And the head of the Garda Representative Association called for the ending of the prison system's revolving door which has too often resulted in innocents suffering at the hands of those who should be in jail.
Among other things, the happenings last week illustrated how unintelligently prison is used – both in terms of how people are jailed when they shouldn't be, and how others are not jailed when they should be.
Some change is coming on imprisoning people who need never be incarcerated. Belatedly, those who, having exhausted all appeals processes and still refuse to pay fines, will soon face having their earnings docked rather than a costly-for-everyone custodial sentence.