• Real Love Challenges Vested Interests

    peter mcverry 1Pope Francis, in everything he says and does, takes the side of the poor and marginalised over and against the wealthy and powerful. He challenges the global structures which deny many their basic human rights and maintain people in their poverty and suffering, while enriching the few, says Peter McVerry SJ. 

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  • Will Francis Comment on Neoliberalism?

    pope moneyPope Francis’ visit to Ireland is a cause of excitement to many and dismay to others. Beneath the flurry of events associated with the World Meeting of Families and the simmering controversy around protests, his visit is an opportunity to reflect on one of the major emphases of his papacy, says Kevin Hargaden.

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  • Prisoner Amnesty for Papal Visit

    pope prisonersEoin Carroll's article in the Irish Times looks back to the arrival of John Paul II in 1979, when 76 prisoners were granted early release, and questions why there is no mention of an amnesty to coincide with the visit of Pope Francis.

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  • Safe Spaces For Young People in Prison

    youth day 2018The theme of International Youth Day 2018 is Safe Spaces for Youth, something that resonates strongly with the work in prison and penal reform that the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice is involved in. The centre has long been an advocate for changes in the prison system for young adults, whom we view as a discrete demographic group, worthy of particular consideration.

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About the Centre

The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice works to combat injustice and marginalisation in Irish society, through social analysis, education and advocacy.

The Centre highlights complex social issues, informs opinion and advocates for governmental policy change to create a fair and equitable society for all.

Analysis on our Key Issues

People in prison are amongst the most marginalised and vulnerable in our society. The majority have left school early, experience literacy and learning difficulties and have a history of unemployment... Click here to view all of our material on Penal Policy

Environmental protection has emerged as a key element of social justice debates in recent decades... Click here to view all of our material on Environmental Justice

The right to a safe and secure place to live is one of the most basic human rights, it is fundamental to enable people to live a dignified life... Click here to view all of our material on Housing Policy

In our political discourse, every question of human flourishing seems to be reduced to bottom-line thinking. This focus on riches impoverishes our shared discourse and has serious negative consequences for society Click here to view material on Economic Justice

The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice focuses on a number of other issues... Explore all here

Our Journal


Exploring Social Justice

Why Care - Social Justice Awareness for Younger People

Dáil Motion on Penal Reform Report

Motion on Penal Reform and Sentencing ReportA motion on the ‘Report on Penal Reform and Sentencing’ of the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality, came before the Dáil to be debated on Thursday, 28 Jun 2018. The JCFJ was one of the stakeholder groups that made a contribution to the report and we eagerly await its progession.
Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Caithoirleach of the Committee, put forward the motion that the Dáil consider the Report of the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality entitled ‘Report on Penal Reform and Sentencing’, copies of which were laid before it on 10 May, 2018.
To help the committee identify the issues affecting Irish prisons, it held engagements with the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice and six other stakeholder groups involved in the process; Irish Penal Reform Trust, the Victims' Rights Alliance, the Probation Service, the Irish Prison Service, the Prison Officers' Association and Simon Communities Ireland.
Ó Caoláin highlighted that the report contains 29 recommendations. 'The committee took a great deal of time over the report as this is such an important area of its work and it is vital that we get it right. I believe we have got it right and I therefore urge the Minister for Justice and Equality and his Government colleagues to give the report their detailed consideration and to begin implementing its recommendations forthwith. As a society, we cannot afford to ignore this report's findings. The Government, as the vehicle for change, has a duty to heed and to act.'
Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Charles Flanagan in turn thanked the the Cathaoirleach and the committee for its report on penal reform and sentencing which he acknowledged was detailed and comprehensive and noted that it has many implications across a range of services, and 'covers many of the most important and challenging issues facing our criminal justice system in the treatment of those persons in society whom the independent courts system deems should be denied their liberty. It is important that we underline our policy on the prison system with a view to ensuring that when people discharge their sanction and pay their penalty by serving a period in custody and when they acknowledge the time in which their liberty was denied, they will be in a position to reintegrate into society in a way that benefits society, reduces offending and is in everyone's best interests.'
Deputy Jim O'Callaghan, who is also a member of the justice committee said that 'up to now there has been too much concentration on the sentencing of criminal offences being limited to terms of imprisonment and fines. This is probably the same all over the world. Any statute passed, regardless of its nature, generally has within it a reference to offences that can be committed and subsequent to that will be a section setting out the sentence for the commission of the offence.'
Deputy Louise O'Reilly drew attention to two areas which were areas of concern for the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice and were presented by Eoin Carroll at the consultation stage. The issue of overcrowding is ongoing and leads to problems in terms of prisoner and staff safety, and must be addressed promptly. 'The recommendation to cap prison numbers and reduce the prison population over time through alternative measures must be given serious consideration' she said, echoing the Centre's own recommendations.
We are following the progession of this report and subsequent motion with great interest, and are hopeful that Minister Flanagan will adhere to his assurances that he is 'very open to engaging with the Chairman of the committee on the report and the recommendations contained therein. I trust that I will have an opportunity to do so in the early autumn.'

Posted in Criminality, Prisons and Justice News

Tags: Prison,, Penal Reform

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