I will say it again, McEntee, is Way out of her Depth, the Irish Jails, are Fucking in Tatters; Drugs, Gangs, Threats, Staff and Alcohol Abuse, and the Rest??

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Helen McEntee under pressure from Fine Gael over jails’ capacity amid crime crackdown

3rd May 2022

Justice Minister Helen McEntee has been called upon by her own party to ensure there is an increase in the number of prison places amid a major crackdown on crime.

Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond has said the number of prisoners has been increasing in recent years and the Government must ensure adequate prison capacity to keep communities, prisoners and prison guards safe.

“In order to keep our communities and our prisons safe, it is vital that our justice system is operational in full,” the Dublin Rathdown TD said.

“To do this, we must ensure that we have sufficient capacity in our prisons to ensure they are safe environments for inmates, but also to ensure our communities are kept safe with justice brought to criminals as soon as possible.”

Mr Richmond said Ireland has more than 3,980 people in prison custody and the World Prison Brief estimates that Irish prisons are currently operating at 90.7pc capacity.

“While not yet meeting our prison capacity, the numbers in custody are on the rise,” he added.

“With an increase of 44pc from 2,763 in 1999 to 3,971 in 2019, we need to ensure that the capacity is secured.”

He said Ms McEntee was now bringing forward reforms to ensure stronger sentences for serious crimes, so there must be sufficient capacity in prisons to ensure capacity is not a factor when deciding sentences.

“The safety of our communities must come first, and this is recognised by Minister McEntee, who has confirmed that there will be 220 new prison spaces opened by the end of the year,” Mr Richmond said.

“While this is an important and very welcome first step, any increase in prison capacity must be maintained and monitored to ensure that overcrowding does not arise in the future.

“Overcrowded prisons put prisoners and our prison officers at risk and negatively impacts efforts to encourage rehabilitation of convicted criminals.”

The Fine Gael TD said that with the Irish Prison Services capital strategy for 2023 pending, everything must be done to ensure sufficient capacity in the prisons, allowing people to feel safe in their homes and communities across Ireland.

“The Government must make prison capacity a priority,” he concluded.

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