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90% more people going to prison for unpaid fines

Penal reform group says Irish prison crisis “out of control”.
Aug 7th 2010, 12:34 PM 482 0

OVER 10% MORE people went to jail last year than in 2008, according to the latest report from the Irish Prison Service (IPS). A total of 15,425 people went to prison in 2009, an increase of 13.8%.

There was a huge increase in the numbers imprisoned for failing to pay court-ordered fines through 2009 – over 90% up on 2008 to 4,806.

The daily average number of people in custody increased by 8.5% (337 prisoners) and most prisons operated at or above full capacity.

Last week, a report from the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IRPT) criticised the government’s plan to break the new Thornton Hall facility into three construction stages. The group said the new plan would mean prison overcrowding would continue, and new capacity would be filled.

Responding to the prison service’s report, the IRPT said that the prison crisis “is now completely out of control” and the number of prisoners is not only increasing, but that increase is accelerating.

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Susan Ryan

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