Monday 22 July 2019

Luxuries have no place in prison life

I was shocked to read recently that inmates in Irish prisons have received a combined €19m in 'pocket money' over the past five years. I find it staggering that this figure is spent on providing spending money for prisoners who are already being supported by the taxpayer.

Anyone who commits a crime must serve their time and the running costs of housing prisoners are unavoidable but to allow them to receive spending money on top of this is excessive I believe.

When the figures are broken down it appears that the allowance per prisoner per day is very small-in the region or one or two Euro but this isn't the point. Over the years these Euros build up.

The bottom line is that prisoners are receiving money from the taxpayers of this country to spend on sweets, cigarettes and television rental.

While there has to be some compassion for those locked up I don't think anyone in custody should have their own personal television. After all, it's not a hotel they are staying in. Prison is supposed to be hard because it is a punishment for crimes committed. I'm sure the many victims of crime and their families would be appalled to think of such vast amounts being spent for the benefit of those who have caused harm to others and have been imprisoned for this.

Many will say that the penalty is to have one's liberty taken away and that this is enough for prisoners to contend with. I disagree. I don't think any such luxuries should be provided within prisons. If such money is available for the State to spend then it should be pumped into more deserving causes such as hospitals or even policing to reduce the level of crime that happens in the first place.

While in prison, criminals can avail of counselling, therapy and education and I believe these are very important aspects in terms of rehabilitation and actually doing the prisoner some good. This all requires funding on top of the basic figure it costs to accommodate prisoners.

Using pocket money as an incentive for good behaviour should not happen and prisoners certainly shouldn't be allowed to save up their allowances for their release.

New Ross Standard