Issue: 57: Thornton Hall Prison: A Progressive Move?


Working Notes – Issue 57 Editorial

In February 2008, the report on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the proposed Thornton Hall prison complex was published. The scope of the Assessment did not extend to analysing in depth the impact of Thornton Hall on the prisoners who will be detained there. Yet the study’s Non Technical Summary confidently declared that: The... Read more »


Gardaí and the Committee for the Prevention of Torture Reports

Introduction Towards the end of 2007, a young man, aged nineteen, from a deprived neighbourhood came to tell me that on the previous day he had been taken to a Garda Station for a drugs search, during the course of which he had beeng assaulted by several Gardaí. When no drugs were found on him,... Read more »

Penal Reform  

4.11.06 Dublin Dochas womens Prison. ©Photo by Derek Speirs

The Ripple Effects of Imprisonment on Prisoners’ Families

To many in our society, the impact of imprisonment on prisoners and their families is a matter of little or no importance. In the face of everyday issues such as meeting financial demands, finding a balance between work and family commitments, and obtaining access to services in an inadequate health care system, the needs of... Read more »

Penal Reform  

Ireland’s Women’s Prisons

Among Ireland’s fourteen prisons, there are two for female prisoners: one is the Dóchas Centre, the new female prison at Mountjoy; the other is located in the oldest prison in the country still in operation, Limerick Prison, a male prison where imprisoned women are accommodated on one corridor. Both are closed prisons. Prisons of varying... Read more »

Penal Reform  

Is there a Need for the Women’s Prison to Move from Mountjoy to Thornton Hall?

Introduction The Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Irish Prison System (the Whitaker Report), published in 1985, identified women in prison as a particularly vulnerable group. It recommended that, in so far as possible, women offenders should be given non-custodial penalties and that of those imprisoned the majority should be accommodated in an... Read more »

Penal Reform  

Hospital or Prison? What Future for the Central Mental Hospital?

Introduction The Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum probably evokes a cold shiver in people as they pass by – that is, if they think about it at all. The perception of the hospital is influenced visually by the high walls, the imposing metal gates leading up a long avenue to another electronic gate, and the... Read more »

Penal Reform