Prison in its Place - The Choice we Face
Within the space of 20 years Ireland’s number of prison places will have doubled; when new prison developments are completed in 2012 the Irish prison system will have the potential to incarcerate 4,500 people on any given day.
It is not the case that there is no role for imprisonment, but perhaps we need to think about using it along with a range of other possible responses - all of which should have the objective of moving offenders away from crime. Our response to crime needs to address the issues underlying the offending behaviour, such as addiction, effects of trauma, poor education, mental health and lack of suitable accommodation.
A 2007 TNS/MRBI poll commissioned by the Irish Penal Reform Trust found that only 5 per cent of respondents identified building additional prison places as their preferred measure for tackling prison, while 66 per cent surveyed believed that most people come out of prison worse than they went in.