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Saturday, June 25, 2005


Is this the 'Luck' or the 'Bad Luck' of the Irish?

Irish prisoners lose maids.

PRISONERS in Irish jails will no longer be permitted to hire servants or order in private supplies of food and alcohol under new draft rules published today by the justice ministry.

In the first update of Ireland's prison regulations for almost 50 years, the proposal would also rule out punishments, which are now considered inhumane, such as a restricted diet or corporal punishment.

"The existing prison rules date back to 1947 and contain provisions that reflect their age, including special provisions for prisoners under sentence of death," said Justice Minister Michael McDowell. "Clearly they are no longer adequate or appropriate for today's conditions," he said. The new rules will remove outdated references to penal servitude and imprisonment with hard labour.

On the flip-side, for those on the inside at least, a provision that prisoners can use private furniture and bedding and employ an assistant to perform housekeeping tasks is also going. They will also no longer be permitted to order in private food or alcoholic drinks. Regulations governing prison life, such as accommodation, visiting rights, discipline, health and education, have been revamped. In addition, compulsory drug tests will be allowed.

The rules were drawn up under a bid by Mr McDowell to modernise the prison service - one of Ireland's oldest institutions. Hundreds of prisoners have lodged legal claims again the government seeking damages because they are being held in cells without toilets and have to "slop out" pots every morning.

What do you think?


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