Our Mountjoy shame.
Even though it houses some of the most violent and evil people in the State, their punishment is the loss of their liberty and NOT having to endure Dickensian conditions.
News that prisoners are being forced to sleep in a shower room and on cockroach infested floors because of a shortage of cells is disturbing.
Part of the problem is the large number of people committed for non-payment of fines. Up to 4,000 people a year are jailed for not paying fines. In many of these cases the prisoner only spends a few hours behind bars and their debt is expunged.
While it is right and proper that dangerous criminals are being sent to jail, we cannot detain them in conditions which would not be acceptable for animals.
How can we expect to rehabilitate these criminals and help them become worthwhile members of society if we treat them in a such a manner? The Irish Prison Service is planning its new "Super Prison" in Thornton Hall which is welcome. But something needs to be done to improve the situation until that state of the art facility is completed.