February 21, 2011

Ireland's prison chaplains demanded the government take an urgent look at its penal policies following the publication of a report by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture.

The report found evidence of degrading, dangerous and hazardous conditions in several prisons. Father Ciaran Enright, head chaplain, repeated the the country's prison chaplains' call for an overhaul of penal policy, which has led to "chronic overcrowding" in the prison system.

He said it was critical that alternatives to jailing for less serious crimes be reviewed.

People working in Ireland's prison system have long been calling for change, Enright said Feb. 10.

"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."