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 The Irish Penal System

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PostSubject: The Irish Penal System   Mon Dec 22, 2008 1:43 pm

Has anyone ever toured a working prison and/or been locked in a cell in one?


Last edited by Kate P on Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:27 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Clarity)
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:02 pm

johnfás wrote:

Have you ever toured a working prison and/or been locked in a cell in one?

No. But I have lived in a supposed "sink" local authority housing estate and in homeless families accommodation.


Last edited by cactus flower on Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:32 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Clarity)
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:06 pm

I did a tour of Mountjoy prison around this time last year. Place is a vile, disgusting cesspit and an absolute disgrace to the humanity of this State. There would be uproar if chickens were held in the way that offenders are held in that place. Then you go into the women's prison (the dóchas centre) which is an entirely different story altogether - its nicer than the university residences at ucd.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:11 pm

johnfás wrote:
I did a tour of Mountjoy prison around this time last year. Place is a vile, disgusting cesspit and an absolute disgrace to the humanity of this State. There would be uproar if chickens were held in the way that offenders are held in that place. Then you go into the women's prison (the dóchas centre) which is an entirely different story altogether - its nicer than the university residences at ucd.


Do they have a good library and internet access?
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:18 pm

The women do, they have really decent facilities to be honest... they all have an en suite bathroom, they all get a television set with cable television, all get a proper bed. For good behaviour they can be upgraded to apartments where they cook for themselves etc. A whole host of educational programmes are put on for them: hairdressing, home economics, fashion shows, camping trips etc.

In the mens prison you have three guys to a cell smaller than the one person to a room they get in the womens prison. They are locked in it for far longer periods. No bathroom facilities ,they have a bucket and must slop out. They cannot remove the bucket from their cell during the night. I am going to be graphic because graphic is the only way to get the message home about this place. They're locked up 20 hours of the day and have a large mayonnaise bucket in their cell of three (which the victorians said should not hold more than one). They are locked up before dinner and thus cannot go to the bathroom after they eat their meal. As a result, they must deficate, into a bucket, in front of their cellmates and then that defication must stay in their cell, in an open bucket, until the next morning. That is perhaps one of the most humiliating things which any person could be made do.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:35 pm

johnfás wrote:
The women do, they have really decent facilities to be honest... they all have an en suite bathroom, they all get a television set with cable television, all get a proper bed. For good behaviour they can be upgraded to apartments where they cook for themselves etc. A whole host of educational programmes are put on for them: hairdressing, home economics, fashion shows, camping trips etc.

In the mens prison you have three guys to a cell smaller than the one person to a room they get in the womens prison. They are locked in it for far longer periods. No bathroom facilities ,they have a bucket and must slop out. They cannot remove the bucket from their cell during the night. I am going to be graphic because graphic is the only way to get the message home about this place. They're locked up 20 hours of the day and have a large mayonnaise bucket in their cell of three (which the victorians said should not hold more than one). They are locked up before dinner and thus cannot go to the bathroom after they eat their meal. As a result, they must deficate, into a bucket, in front of their cellmates and then that defication must stay in their cell, in an open bucket, until the next morning. That is perhaps one of the most humiliating things which any person could be made do.

The wrong people are in there, johnfás.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:28 pm

What do you mean Cactus?
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:34 pm

Kate P wrote:
What do you mean Cactus?


I'd write you a list, but at the moment I wouldn't know where to stop. Envisage a few banking CEOs and heads of State Agencies to start with.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:45 pm

Ah, I wasn't thinking so much about the criminals on the outside as the ones on the inside. Drastic overhaul needed to keep people out of prisons who need other kinds of help, and to provide the services that would help kids stay out of trouble in the first place.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:50 pm

I don't think blatant humiliation (as in johnfás post above) should be part of anyone's punishment. There would be more dignity in getting the electric chair. Humiliating people like that only makes them angry(angrier).
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Mon Dec 22, 2008 6:32 pm

Have been in both Limerick Prison and Mountjoy (of my own volition and not as an inmate).

I think there's a danger that folks might knock the Dóchas facility out of a reaction to the general prisons system we facilitate. The Dóchas initiave is a good one and competition to get transferred there from elsewhere is massive. Visitation in the Dóchas centre is an open environment where visitors (kids included) can mingle and visit in a humane, clean and warm environment.

The 'Joy' is every bit as bleak as Johnfás paints it to be. If you are not addicted to heroin etc. before you get sent there, the chances are that you will be when you leave, if you leave.

I would have to say, that overall, Limerick Prison is worse. I remember visiting an elderly lady who was crippled with arthritis and being told by her that she would have to try to sleep at night, hugging a hot water pipe for heat in her freezing and damp cell. Thankfully, this particular lady was later moved to the Dóchas centre and was able to establish once again, some dignity that had been stripped from her earlier.

Limerick Prison is fined once a year by the EU as the design of the prison/'birdcage' does not afford many of the prisoners being able to see the sun. We continue to pay the fine as human dignity and kindness are more expensive.

Limerick prison is segregated. Men from women and rival gang factions from their rivals. The segregation of rival gangs is understandable but does bring some problems with it. Non associated prisoners can be threatened to perform tasks on behalf of gangs which sets them up as targets by the other gangs. An example would be a young man with mental problems who should never have seen the inside of a prison to begin with being forced to smuggle drugs into the prison, in his anus - he was frequently allowed out on day-release. This eventually resulted in him being placed in 24 hour (it may have been 23 - it's a while back and me memory isn't as sharp as it should be) lockdown, downstairs in the protective custody section.

Our penal system is barbaric, does not act to deter and instead, it acts to dehumanise, debase and infuriate. There was no hope of fixing these issues and thanks to our government having pissed away what little wealth there was, there's now a valid excuse to continue to allow prisoners to rot in the rotting prisons we run.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:46 pm

I enjoyed the 3 men in a bird cage with the sweet aroma of nature for a very short duration at one time facing a serious but non violent charge.

To each their own but in my case it did serve as a tremendous deterrent.

Maybe whipping for the ladies should be called for because their conditions sound delightfull.

I would not worry about humiliation. If you can bash your wife's head in with a brick surely you can crap in a bucket
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:59 pm

The majority (more than half) of people incarcerated in Irish prisons are serving three month sentences or less. There are less than 50 people in our prisons doing a sentence of more than 10 years and most of those are not in for murder. That's less than 50 out of a population of around 3,500 prisoners.

I'm all for going hard on murderers and rapists etc. But I think we should begin by catching them first.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Mon Dec 22, 2008 9:34 pm

On course the prisons are full of diddly tits done for trivial stuff.

Their mistake was not having accomplices
from high up families from Salthill. Do you think I was stupid enough to have my buddies from Mervue come on this noted adventure.

If your figure is correct that just 50 inmates are in for more than 10 years then that country is an even bigger joke than I thought, and that would be big indeed.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Mon Dec 22, 2008 9:41 pm

I'm being very generous with the figure of 50. I was working with figures I gathered a few years ago and didn't want to underestimate the figure: LINK.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:01 pm

I still question if it is possible that the figure could be
this low. I don't read Indymedia but this Ryan poster can write a good post. I wish he was here.

He makes a good point, life has been cheapened from being priceless to discardable. Society has been altered by design in my opinion.

Some of these lefties
are well worth listening to even if they do not understand money
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:14 pm

Hermes wrote:
There are less than 50 people in our prisons doing a sentence of more than 10 years and most of those are not in for murder. That's less than 50 out of a population of around 3,500 prisoners.


That figure is entirely incorrect by any measure I have ever seen. I wrote an essay which touched on this area last year and used figures from the Irish Prison Service. In 2006 courts sentenced 38 offenders to detention periods of over 10 years when you combine definate sentences of over 10 years with life sentences, which average at 12 years. In 2007 the courts sentenced 47 offenders to periods of detention over 10 years and 23 offenders to life sentences which combined gave you 70 sentences of over 10 years in that particular year. On 5 December 2007, the day of the report, there were 207 inmates serving definate sentences of 10 years or more and 239 serving life sentences, a combined figure of 446 which constituted 16.6% of the sentenced prison population on that day. Of this figure 228 were serving a sentence for murder, all of whom would be serving life sentences and constituted 8.5% of the sentenced prison population.

Perhaps your figures confused how many people are sentenced to a detention of over 10 years in any particular year and the figure of those actually serving sentences of the same. The answer as to how many people are in our prisons doing a sentence of 10 or more years was 446 as of December 2007 when you combine it with life sentenced inmates.

However, your general point that there are far too many people serving sentences when both they and the system would be better if they were not is entirely valid. 17 % of the sentenced prison population are serving sentences of 12 months or less and when you combined that with sentences of 24 months or less you have 30.1% of the sentenced prison population serving sentences of 2 years or less. The sentenced prison population is around 2,700 but there is also a significant group of about 800 additional people who are in custody and not sentenced, asylum seekers, people pending trial etc so you can add a significant number of those to the group who arguably need not be in custody.

Another interesting fact is that 97.6% of the prison population is male which contributes to the fact that not enough investment goes into men in this country. Men are also more likely to be unemployed and far more likely to die owing to suicide. Society is failing men.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Mon Dec 22, 2008 11:24 pm

Youngdan wrote:
I don't read Indymedia but this Ryan poster can write a good post. I wish he was here.
He is, you're talking to him.

johnfás wrote:
Hermes wrote:
There are less than 50 people in our prisons doing a sentence of more than 10 years and most of those are not in for murder. That's less than 50 out of a population of around 3,500 prisoners.


That figure is entirely incorrect by any measure I have ever seen. I wrote an essay which touched on this area last year and used figures from the Irish Prison Service. In 2006 courts sentenced 38 offenders to detention periods of over 10 years when you combine definate sentences of over 10 years with life sentences, which average at 12 years. In 2007 the courts sentenced 47 offenders to periods of detention over 10 years and 23 offenders to life sentences which combined gave you 70 sentences of over 10 years in that particular year. On 5 December 2007, the day of the report, there were 207 inmates serving definate sentences of 10 years or more and 239 serving life sentences, a combined figure of 446 which constituted 16.6% of the sentenced prison population on that day. Of this figure 228 were serving a sentence for murder, all of whom would be serving life sentences and constituted 8.5% of the sentenced prison population.

Perhaps your figures confused how many people are sentenced to a detention of over 10 years in any particular year and the figure of those actually serving sentences of the same. The answer as to how many people are in our prisons doing a sentence of 10 or more years was 446 as of December 2007 when you combine it with life sentenced inmates.

My apologies johnfás, you're entirely correct. My figure of 50 should have pointed to the approximate number sentenced each year to ten or more years and not the total in detention. Thanks for pointing that out.

Using the 38 people sentenced to 10 years or more in 2006 and the figure of 9700 prison sentences handed out in 2006, we can see that approximately 0.4% of sentences handed down were sentences of 10 years or more, or in other words, for every 250 sentences handed down in 2006, 1 was a sentence of 10 years or over. This of course does not even begin to consider the non-custodial orders that judges make. So whilst my mistake was a stupid one, it does not take from the point that I'm making. That point being, that we put far too much focus into non-serious crime and nowhere close to enough into serious crime.

I totally agree with you on your point about us failing men.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Mon Dec 22, 2008 11:57 pm

I should also point out that the figure you arrived at of 16.6% of prisoners doing 10 years or more does not give a fair picture of what's going on here. Our prison system truly is a revolving door system, with some 9700 custodial sentences having been handed out in 2006. 446 as a percentage of 9700 is approximately 4.6%. And we know that even this percentage is too large as it does not take into consideration the existing prison population at the start of 2006.

I'm afraid I'm doing a bit of chopping to arrive at these figures. I used the 9700 from the 2006 statistics - I haven't got the 2007 stats yet.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:15 am

I knew that Hermes when I complimented Ryan's post. You must have a suspicion as to who I am but it would be hard to believe it.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:24 am

Hermes. I slept with a man whom up to this point you have held in high regard. Please do not think less of the man as we were both young and wild
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:26 am

youngdan wrote:
I knew that Hermes when I complimented Ryan's post. You must have a suspicion as to who I am but it would be hard to believe it.

Smile I've loads of suspicions, but I take the legal fraternity's view to such things: I'd never ask such a question that I didn't already know the answer to. Besides, if I were to out you, it'd be a hanging offence here on MN. Regardless as to who you are, I'd still share a pint with you. You're a likeable chap. So long as you're not Mr. Bush, Mr. Blair, Mr. Cowen or Mr. Ahern that is. (or Ms Harney...)

Course you'd have to buy the pint, I'm a broke leftie, but I could afford the two straws. Razz
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:30 am

I will double check to make sure I am not Ms Harney.......... Thank God, I have only two, she has got three.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:32 am

Lads, if buying the pint is an issue, then I'll chip in to cover the first two to get ye over the line. Ye deserve it for consistenty interesting posts.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Penal System   Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:35 am

As Harney would say "It is going to be a ball, one for each of the three of us"
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The Irish Penal System
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