Issue: 70: Prison Policy Matters


Working Notes – Issue 70 Editorial

In its policy document, The Irish Prison System: Vision, Values, Reality, published in March 2012, the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice states that since imprisonment is the most severe penalty available to the courts in Ireland – and given the far-reaching implications of imprisonment – society must give serious consideration to two fundamental questions:... Read more »


6.5.10 Dublin. Mountjoy Prison Cell. ©Photo by Derek Speirs

Redefining Standards Downwards: The Deterioration in Basic Living Conditions in Irish Prisons and the Failure of Policy

The phrase 'redefining standards' might be assumed to imply a commitment to higher, more rigorous, standards, along with the more effective enforcement of such standards. In the case of the Irish prison system, however, we have seen over the past two decades alarming examples of where standards have been re-defined downwards, so that, for a... Read more »

Penal Reform  

Focus Ireland Prison In-Reach Service

On any given day in Ireland, prison doors open and men and women step out into the daylight. But what happens to them when those heavy doors close behind them? The bleak truth for a great number is that they have no home to go to and nobody to welcome them upon their release. Many... Read more »

Penal Reform  

Transforming Healthcare in Irish Prisons

There are fourteen prisons across the Republic of Ireland, catering mainly for men but also women (who represent around 3.5 per cent of the prison population) and young offenders. Most of these prisons are high security facilities – there are only two open prisons in the State, which cater for just over 5 per cent... Read more »

Penal Reform  

Dublin. Dochas womens prison. ©Photo by Derek Speirs

Exploring the Policy Process: The Genesis of the Dóchas Centre

What might good prison policy look like in practice? In an article in The Guardian in May 2012, Halden Prison in Norway, which opened in 2010, was described as 'the most humane prison in the world'.1 Yet the prison is, in fact, a high-security jail accommodating about 250 prisoners found guilty of the most serious... Read more »

Penal Reform