Prison Chaplains hope report will lead to change in prisons
The country’s prison chaplains have welcomed publication today of the report from the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture on the country’s prison systems – and expressed the hope that change in the system may finally be implemented by the incoming government.
Just over three months ago, the prison chaplains published similar findings stating at the time that “Conditions in many of our prisons are an insult to the decency of any human being and an affront to the basic tenets of decency”.
Head Chaplain, Fr. Ciarán Enright said that these reports, like those published by the Prison Chaplains themselves and the European Committee report published today, make little impact on the lives of prisoners as there has been no political will to improve conditions in prisons and conditions have steadily worsened in recent years.
Fr. Enright, of the chaplaincy team in Arbour Hill Prison said clearly today’s – “People working in the prison system in Ireland have been crying out for change for so long – if we can’t treat prisoners with basic human dignity we have no hope of changing their lives for the better – and that can only be in everyone’s interests –maybe one more report will finally make some difference.”
There are 27 prison chaplains, priests, religious and lay people, working in 14 prisons in Ireland.
Reports from Prison Chaplains published regularly over the past number of years have chronicled, like today’s European committee report, how overcrowding, violence and drug use continued to escalate in prisons and overcrowding is adding to inhumane conditions.
Today the Chaplains repeated their calls for the need to take an urgent look at the penal policy that was resulting in overcrowding in prisons – and that it was critical that alternatives to prison and non-custodial sentences be looked at. This, they said was an issue first raised in the Whittaker report on prisons over a quarter of a century ago.
A full copy of the most recent Prison Chaplains report is available on www.catholicbishops.ie and www.dublindiocese.ie – Click here for a copy
Fr. Enright can be contacted at (087 7997297)