• Homily Notes for Climate Protests

    ClimateStrike web jcfjAs our approach to the climate emergency is informed by Laudato Si', our Social Theologian Kevin Hargaden has created Homily Notes to be used in church to accompany the day's readings, or by lay persons as a reflection for prayer.

    Read more

  • Why I'm Striking for Climate Action

    climate web jcfjOn Friday, September 20th, there will be a Global Climate Strike, a protest led by school students who are calling on everyone to make their voice heard and demand action on the climate emergency. Ciara Murphy is joining them.

    Read more

  • Retrofit Government Priorities

    web retrofit jcfjHundreds of homeowners have been left high and dry by the SEAI retrofit scheme. Kevin Hargaden asks if the Government is really as invested in climate breakdown mitigation as it should be?

    Read more

  • IPCC Report is More Than Cost Benefit Analysis

    jcfj web climate changeThe Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on land use was published today [8 August 2019]. It paints a stark but familiar picture of the impact human activities are having on the environment. The report, which draws on contributions from over 100 leading scientists from 52 countries across the world, highlights the need for action now, says Dr Ciara Murphy.

    Read more

About the Centre

The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice works to combat injustice and marginalisation in Irish society, through social analysis, education and advocacy.

The Centre highlights complex social issues, informs opinion and advocates for governmental policy change to create a fair and equitable society for all.

Analysis on our Key Issues

People in prison are amongst the most marginalised and vulnerable in our society. The majority have left school early, experience literacy and learning difficulties and have a history of unemployment... Click here to view all of our material on Penal Policy

Environmental protection has emerged as a key element of social justice debates in recent decades... Click here to view all of our material on Environmental Justice

The right to a safe and secure place to live is one of the most basic human rights, it is fundamental to enable people to live a dignified life... Click here to view all of our material on Housing Policy

In our political discourse, every question of human flourishing seems to be reduced to bottom-line thinking. This focus on riches impoverishes our shared discourse and has serious negative consequences for society Click here to view material on Economic Justice

The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice focuses on a number of other issues... Explore all here

Our Journal


Exploring Social Justice

Why Care - Social Justice Awareness for Younger People

Ending Poverty For All Must Include Prisoners

Prison 400 x 297The first of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals commits to ending poverty in all forms everywhere. If we are to take this seriously it needs to include people in prison and their families, says Eoin Carroll.

When someone is sent to prison there is little attention paid to the unintended punishment inflicted on families. The Prison Chaplain’s report for 2006/2007 summed it up well, ‘for every individual who is incarcerated there is a circle of people directly affected by their imprisonment.’

To achieve justice in this realm, families of prisoners need financial support and the weekly allowance given to prisoners must be increased. These steps will improve the personal living standards of those who are in prison and lighten the financial burden placed on families.

Financial burden of prisoner families

There is a scheme – the One Parent Payment – available to prisoner spouses, but it is insufficient. The payment is means-tested and only applies to those with sentences longer than six months. Restricting the payment and not including all families impacted by imprisonment is unfair and is imposing poverty on individuals that have not committed a crime.

As well as the financial burden on families to manage the household costs from the loss of income, many make weekly payments to a prison account for their spouse. This additional strain on families, many who already live in poverty, is unfair and needs to be addressed.

Poverty in prison

Many people in prison are unable to afford some of the basics of life, such as toiletries and clothes. A considerable number of prisoners are estranged from their families or their family does not have the means to support them in prison.

Gratuities made to prisoners range from €6.65 to €15.40. Stretching back at least as far as the Whitaker Report of 1985 there have been calls to increase this dramatically, but the situation is unchanged. Using the Vincentian Partnership for Justice budgeting tool the very basic minimum to satisfy the fundamental human dignity of a prisoner would be €26.31.

The Inspector of Prisons has recommended a 25-hour working week, consisting of work, training and/or education. As it stands, even the very fortunate prisoner who is engaged in a “privileged” job is still earning just 89 cents per hour. This ought to be profoundly troubling to our consciences on a host of levels.


Contrary to popular opinion, prison is not like a holiday camp. What kind of resort locks you up for most of the day and leaves you so poor that meeting basic needs can seem impossible? Addressing the poverty in prisons is one very achievable aim for the coming year.

Posted in Criminality, Prisons and Justice News

Tags: Prison,, poverty

Print Email