he October issue of Working Notes (from JCFJ, the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice) focuses on matters of prison policy. October saw also the publication of the report on St Patrick’s Institution, presenting the public with a deeply depressing and guilt-inducing picture of what happens to the young offenders who are consigned there.
JCFJ deserve thanks not merely for the detailed research behind their publication, but also for the moral courage required to keep reminding the public and politicians of matters they do not want to hear about. It is far easier to highlight the upbeat activities that occupy most of Irish Jesuit News than to remind readers of the dark side of our society: what we do, or fail to do, with those convicted of crimes. It is more comfortable to read about spirituality than about the conditions that afford prisoners no privacy in relieving themselves.
Kevin Warner’s opening article in WN is called: ‘Redefining standards downwards: the deterioration in basic living conditions in Irish Prisons, and the failure of policy’. Thank you, JCFJ, for this uncomfortable prodding, and for your advocacy of those without a voice.