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    With the country’s prisons filled to capacity, the issue of penal reform and the possibility of alternative punishments that would keep young people and women in particular out of the prison system is a matter of political and social urgency. For six years Liam Herrick was head of the Irish Penal Reform Trust, visiting prisons and building a relationship with the Prison Service to try and address the problems in Irish jails. He is now moving on to take up a new position as Adviser to President Michael D Higgins, but he joined Sean to reflect on the major issues ...


    The number of women committed to prison in Ireland has risen by a third in the last three years. While the total number of prison spaces for women is 133- that's 105 in the Dochas Centre at Mountjoy and 28 in Limerick- the total number of women prisoners in the state is now, according to the Irish Penal Reform Trust, consistently at around 160 to 170. The problem was highlighted last week in Athlone where Judge Seamus Hughes criticised the release of a woman described as a serial thief who’d been sentenced to six months but was released after just three ...


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