A CATHOLIC NGO has described a report that praises the Prison Service for alleviating overcrowding at Limerick Prison as “missing the big picture”.
The report of the six-member visiting committee was published by Justice Minster Alan Shatter last week and noted that while the Mulgrave Street jail had 294 male inmates on January 1, 2012, this had been reduced to 205 two years later. The number of female prisoners grew from 25 to 31 over the corresponding two years. The report states the prison has capacity for 210 male and 28 female prisoners.
But Eoin Carroll, advocacy officer for the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice said the prison remained “chronically overcrowded” according to the standards required by the Inspector of Prisons.
“The women’s prison in Limerick regularly has over 30 women incarcerated per day. The Inspector, Judge Michael Reilly, insists that the capacity should not exceed 24. Likewise, Reilly has insisted that there should be no more than 185 in the men’s prison which has housed at least 237 during 2013 (28 May) and more recently 205 (January 2014).”
While Minister Shatter has pointed to a major construction programme for Mulgrave Street, Mr Carroll said this had been delayed.