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Irish prisons so overcrowded that roughly 50 inmates have been ‘sleeping on the floor’

“History has shown this just leads to violence within our prisons.”

The overcrowding in Irish prisons may increase the risk of violence, Prison Officers Association General Secretary Karl Dalton told Newstalk.© Getty Images/Image Source

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

Irish prisons are currently so overcrowded that roughly 50 inmates have been “sleeping on the floor.”

The situation has sparked concern for the Prison Officers Association, who believe it will increase the risk of violence behind bars.

"[They’re sleeping on] literally just a mattress on the floor with bed linen,” the Prison Officers Association General Secretary Karl Dalton told Newstalk.

“It’s been happening constantly and is going to be the future as far as we can see when you watch numbers and you look at the daily figures going up and up.

“We know what’s happening in the courts [and] with no sign of any new accommodation it’s just unacceptable.

“Staff have to deal with the fall out of that, you know?

“Nobody’s going to like sleeping on the floor and then eventually you’re going to get to the situation where you’re putting prisoners in cells with prisoners that don’t want them on the floor either.

“So again, history has shown this just leads to violence within our prisons.”

Four Irish prisons have now exceeded their capacity and there are 550 more prisoners than there were a year ago.

Dublin TD Neale Richmond already made calls for increased prison capacity in November, saying overcrowded prisons “put prisoners and our prison officers at risk."

"In order to keep our communities and our prisons safe, it is vital that our justice system is operational in full,” he said.

“In order to do so, we must ensure that we have sufficient capacity in our prisons to ensure they are safe environments for inmates, but also to ensure our communities are kept safe with justice brought to criminals as soon as possible."


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