A report on Irish prisons has stated that the condition of Mountjoy and Portlaoise jails is unacceptable and that they should be demolished.
Dermot Kinlen, a former High Court judge, was appointed the State's first Inspector of Prisons and Places of Detention in April of last year. This is his first report.
The Inspector says the closure of Shanganagh Castle was a retrograde step.
He was also concerned that the prison service is top-heavy and overstaffed, and that little of the budget reaches the prisoners' needs.
Mr Kinlen is also forthright in his comments on his dealings with the Prison Service and the Department of Justice.
His report says that they were slow to provide information to him and that they advised him to take six months to read himself into the job.
The Inspector says he took this to mean that he was not to do any real work.
A spokesperson for the Prison Service said it was too early to comment other than to say they were studying the contents of the report, and awaiting the comments of individual governors.