The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice has welcomed the publication, on 30 April 2012, of the new three-year Strategic Plan of the Irish Prison Service and says it includes several commitments which, if implemented, would represent significant improvements in the Irish prison system.
In particular, the Centre warmly welcomes the plan to use ‘structured release’ under a new Community Return Programme to reduce the current prison population. In its recently published report, The Irish Prison System: Vision, Values, Reality, the Jesuit Centre argued that a core objective of policy should be to reduce the numbers in prison in Ireland. It saw this as necessary not just because of the need to deal with the current level of overcrowding – with its seriously detrimental consequences for prison conditions and regimes – but because imprisonment should be seen as ‘the punishment of last resort’, with other non-custodial penalties being employed as far as possible.
Absence of Commitment to Principle of Single-Cell Occupancy
The Jesuit Centre says, however, that it is extremely disappointed that the Strategic Plan does not contain any commitment to ending multiple-occupancy of prison cells
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