CFJ: advocate for women offenders

November 11, 2008 in General, News

Tony O'Riordan SJTony O’Riordan SJ was quoted by the Irish Examiner for his advocacy of non-custodial alternatives to prison for women offenders. Using the JCFJ’s research into female prisoners, he pointed out that more than three quarters of them are being punished for ‘non-serious offences’, and are imprisoned for six months or less. “If, as is planned, the number of prison spaces in Thornton Hall is doubled so as to accommodate female offenders, it will discourage the search for alternatives to prison for women.” JCFJ has also brought out the November issue of Working Notes. Read below for a write-up of it.

Immigration Bill, Hidden Children, Agency Work, Prison Expansion, Justice in Recession

Five topics covered in the November Issue of Working Notes: In Recession who will be left Stranded?

Working NotesThe editorial of the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice’s journal Working Notes, begins with a quote by L.P. Hartley, ‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there’. It is however ‘the present that feels like a foreign country’, retorts the editor.

The opening article ‘Justice in Recession: Statement on the Current Economic Situation’ juxtapositions the familiar past of economic prosperity, growth in personal wealth and job creation, with the economic uncertainty Ireland now faces. The need to think seriously about the values that will guide us through these difficult times was the core theme of the statement. It argues that social solidarity, a concern for the common good and care for the people who are vulnerable ought to underpin the policies and measures adopted in response to the current crisis.

The framing of legislation and the devising of policy are tasks of government that must go on in good times and bad: these tasks are the core theme of the remaining four articles in the November issue of Working Notes.

In an analysis of the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2008, Eugene Quinn, sets the Bill’s provisions on asylum and protection in the wider context of international migration from the poorer to the richer parts of the world and in the context also of trends in asylum policy within the EU.

Over the past decade, more than 5,000 unaccompanied children from outside the country have come to the attention of the authorities in Ireland. Maria Corbett examines the response of the State’s asylum and child care systems to the needs of these children.

The consequences of Ireland’s failure to ensure adequate legislative protection for temporary agency workers – a group which grew rapidly during the economic boom – is the subject of an article by Brendan MacPartlin SJ.

In the final article, Daragh McGreal and Tony O’Riordan SJ argue that current plans to double the number of prison places for women are not supported by statistics on the crimes for which women are convicted. There are strong grounds, the authors conclude, for questioning government plans to increase the number of prison places for women.

Working Notes: In Recession who will be left Stranded, can be accessed at the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice website: