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cork prison

New Cork prison will be "cramped and oppressive"

The Justice Minister is signing documents to give the go-ahead for the new prison, but campaigners are not happy

SOCIAL JUSTICE CAMPAIGNER Father Peter McVerry has criticised plans to have prisoners share cells at the proposed new prison in Cork.

The Minister for Justice will today sign the building contract for a new prison in Cork which is based on double occupancy of cells.

However, campaigners say that this is a “retrograde step” and in breach of international best practice.

McVerry said that cell-sharing was not a system that should exist in Irish prisons.

“Cell sharing should not be the norm in prison. In many cases, it results in increased intimidation and violence, and leads to non-drug users being introduced to drug use.

“But even without such extreme consequences, enforced sharing can represent a very cramped and oppressive living environment, especially in light of the fact that in Ireland out-of-cell time is, at best, only six or seven hours a day.”

Eoin Carroll of the Jesuit Centre says that the prison will represent a missed opportunity.

“The envisaged new prison in Cork will be yet another missed opportunity to put in place truly modern prison facilities in Ireland. Rather than enlarging the prison capacity by 100, we should be building on the success of the Community Return Programme, and exhausting all other alternatives to custody.”

Read: Shatter responds to concerns about Irish prisons

Read: 249 prisoners to be released from Irish jails over Christmas

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