Thursday, April 05, 2007

Prison survey

BreakingNews.ie have a story about a survey conducted by TNS/MRBI on issues related to the prison system. The story seems to be based on a press release from the Irish Penal Reform Trust but it doesn't say if the survey was conducted on their behalf.

IPRT say that the results of the survey show that
  • 91% of respondents believe offenders with mental illness should be treated in a mental health facility instead of being sent to prison.
  • 81% believe offenders with a drug addiction should be placed in drug recovery programmes instead of serving a prison sentence.
  • 74% are in favour of using alternatives to prison when dealing with young offenders.
Now I'm not sure but to me those numbers seem a little high. 91% of people in favor of anything as divisive as prisons and law reform would make me wonder how the question was phrased. After all most pollsters can get at least 50% of those surveyed to agree that it would be a good idea to shoot their own grandmothers and feed the body to the crows if they have phrased the questions correctly. Then vested interests can go ahead and claim 50% of people are in favour of euthanasia and recycling.

Still the issue I feel most annoyed at is the idea that 81% of people in Ireland believe that offenders with "a drug addiction" should be placed in drug recovery programs instead of serving a prison sentence? Really? 81%? So if a drug addict attacks someone with a syringe of blood to get some money for their next hit, 81% of people think we should just send him to rehab with all the celebrities? If a junkie breaks into their house ransacks through their prized possessions and family memories they believe that the offender should receive an arm around the shoulder and a nice chat? If someone high on cocaine slams his car into one of their children they believe he should sit in a circle and announce how many days it has been since his last hit of cocaine? I doubt it.

I'm not saying every offender should go to jail for life but I don't believe the current system where people walk the streets with 70 or 80 convictions is working. I also don't believe that prisons are properly run or suitable for purpose but lets fix the prisons not release the prisoners. Make prisons strict, well managed, clean, and drug free and lets build more prisons to reduce over crowding before shrugging our shoulders and finding spurious reasons not send to criminals to jail.

3 comments:

Johnny K said...

Sounds like shite to me Dec. Maybe the survey was conducted in prison?

I'm sure most people in Ireland are for building new prisons 'so long as they're nowhere near where I live'.

Lt. Colonel Creedon said...

I live 300yrds away from Cork prison. The only adverse effect it has on the community is when someone escapes and the siren goes off in the middle of the night waking everyone up within a 2km radius.

I'm not a believer in rehabilitation however for more serious crimes. The penalty for taking or attempting to taking a life, rape, carnal knowledge of children etc. should be nothing short of DEATH!!.

Anonymous said...

I'm all FOR prison alternatives as long as they WORK! Prison "rehabilitation" does NOT work. How about a NEW idea who's time has come? Check out the blog at gracetowne.blogspot.com that wants the focus on EDUCATION instead of punishment. Like it!