Analysis of Strategic Review of Penal Policy, 2014: Irish Policy Review Glosses Over Prison Problems

In 2014, the Department of Justice and Equality published a Strategic Review of Penal Policy. While finding some merit in that report by the Strategic Review Group, this critique identifies a number of very serious shortcomings in it. The article was written shortly after the publication of the Strategic Review, but the author would contend that all the problems in the prison system identified here remain to be properly tackled nearly ten years later, and many of these problems – such as the size of the prison population, prison conditions and the neglect of young adult men – have worsened greatly. Notably, while the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on Penal Reform, which reported in 2013, proposed a reduction of one third in the prison population over a period of ten years – which would have brought the population to 2,850 by 2023 – today (29/02/2024), the number in prison stands at 4,883 – over 2,000 more people in prison than the All Party Justice Committee envisaged!

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