22nd August 2003
The Irish Penal Reform Trust has condemned as "completely unacceptable" reported plans by the Government to privatise prisons.
Media reports have named Prison Service Director Sean Aylward as floating the private prisons plan within the context of ongoing negotiations between the Prison Service and the Prison Officers' Association over overtime payments.
"We have deep concerns about this announced plan," said IPRT Director Rick Lines in response to today's reports. "There was no announcement of such a plan in the Programme for Government. There has been no public discussion or consultation on this issue. That such a seismic shift in Irish prisons policy could even be considered in this context is completely unacceptable."
"More than 10 years of international experience of private prisons has found little evidence that it is effectiveness in either reducing recidivism or saving public monies," said Lines. "Indeed, there is ample evidence to the contrary - that these schemes fail to deliver on the lofty promises of more efficient and less expensive prisons alleged by their supporters."
"If the government is serious in pursuing this flawed policy, it should be demanded that they provide evidence to support this regressive step."
Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.