IPRT calls for investment in communities affected by crime

Deirdre Malone, executive director of the IPRT
Deirdre Malone, executive director of the IPRT

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) has challenged the next Government to invest in communities affected by crime in order to make society safer.

The NGO, which campaigns for the rights of people in prison and the progressive reform of Irish penal policy, has published new analysis of policies pursued over the past five years.

The analysis examines developments against the IPRT’s recommendations ahead of the 2011 election.

It has published new proposals for 2016-21 and produced analysis of party manifestos in the run-up to next week’s general election:

  • Labour
  • Fine Gael
  • Green Party
  • Fianna Fáil
  • People Before Profit Alliance
  • Sinn Féin
  • Social Democrats
  • Renua Ireland
  • Deirdre Malone, executive director of the IPRT, told Irish Legal News: “Over the past 5 years, there has been real progress on addressing some of the worst human rights abuses in prison, including progress towards closure of the widely condemned St Patrick’s Institution, and towards abolishing the degrading practice of slopping out.

    “Children in the adult prison system are no longer excluded from having serious complaints heard by the Ombudsman for Children, and the Inspector of Prisons conducts independent investigations into prison deaths, with the reports made public.”

    She added: “But there is still a long way to go. Too many children are detained on remand in Oberstown. Too many women see prison as a place of respite from chaotic and dangerous lives on the outside. Too many men are being held in prolonged isolation for reasons of safety. Too many people with homelessness, addictions, mental health, and other issues are repeat offending because the causes of their offending behaviour are not being addressed.

    “Above all, prison will not solve the social and economic inequality that underlies most offending behaviour.

    “It is essential that the next Government invests in those communities most affected by crime, with particular emphasis on prevention and early intervention strategies. Ultimately, this is the most cost-effective approach to making society safer.”

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