Article Category: Penal Reform

Crime and Prisons

Tough on Crime or Tough on Criminals? While it may be difficult to predict the outcome of the forthcoming General Election, it is somewhat easier to make accurate predictions about the issues that will surface as the election campaign unfolds. Crime will almost certainly feature prominently and we can safely expect that the political parties… Read more »

Penal Reform    

7.2.97. Dublin.Cell with occupant St Patricks in Mountjoy Prison. ©Photo by Derek Speirs

Rehabilitation – Are We for Real?

Introduction If money were scarce, and one had to prioritise where to invest in rehabilitative facilities within prison, where would you invest it? I suggest that the greatest return is likely to be found amongst the younger prison population who are still at a very decisive developmental period in their lives, namely the 16 -21… Read more »

Penal Reform    

Alternatives to Custody in Ireland

Ireland has seen a sharp increase in its prison population and a corresponding expansion of the prison estate over the last decade despite a reduction in the levels of recorded crime.  Indeed, since 1995 the prison population rate has grown from 57 per 100,000 of national population to 78 per 100,000 of national population in… Read more »

Penal Reform    

An Award Ceremony For Successful Criminals?

Imagine if we introduced an annual award ceremony for Ireland’s most successful criminals. Who might be present at such a gala event and who would be likely to receive nominations and awards? It is unlikely that such an event will ever happen but the very suggestion might help us think about some of the problems… Read more »

Penal Reform    

Working Notes – Issue 53 Editorial

St Patrick’s Institution for Young Offenders should be closed immediately. This recommendation appeared twenty-one years ago in the Whitaker Report on the penal system. It has been repeated forcefully by many over the years, most recently by the Inspector of Prisons in his fourth annual report made available in August. However St Patrick\’s remains open.… Read more »

Penal Reform    

Mental Illness in Irish Prisons

Health Care Standards in Irish Prisons In June 2004, the Irish Prison Service published a statement of Health Care Standards, covering the care of those detained in Irish prisons and places of detention. The core aims of the Standards are stated as being: “to provide prisoners with access to the same quality and range of… Read more »

Penal Reform    

Morris Tribunal Report and the Garda Siochana Bill 2004

1. Morris Tribunal Report The Morris Tribunal’s Report into corruption involving some Gardai in Donegal (1) has major implications for the Garda Síochána generally. The Report calls for radical reform of the structures within the Gardai, structures which have remained essentially unchanged since the foundation of the State and which are clearly in need of… Read more »

Penal Reform    


Keeping The Scales of Justice Balanced

Two critical elements of the Criminal Justice System have been in the news recently. The First Annual Report of the Inspector of Prisons(i) was published and the Minister for Justice announced the “most radical reform of the Gardai” since 1924, and promised new legislation giving the Gardai more powers. 1. Inspecting the Prisons 1.1 The… Read more »

Penal Reform    

Juvenile Justice, Child Care and the Children Act, 2001

The juvenile justice system in Ireland is governed by legislation (the Children Act, 1908) that pre-dates the creation of the present Irish State. New legislation (the Children Act, 2001) has been enacted but the ongoing delay in bringing most of its provisions into force has resulted in the continued use of the outdated 1908 Act. Full introduction of the 2001 legislation is not expected until the end of 2006.

Penal Reform