• Real Love Challenges Vested Interests

    peter mcverry 1Pope Francis, in everything he says and does, takes the side of the poor and marginalised over and against the wealthy and powerful. He challenges the global structures which deny many their basic human rights and maintain people in their poverty and suffering, while enriching the few, says Peter McVerry SJ. 

    Read more

  • Will Francis Comment on Neoliberalism?

    pope moneyPope Francis’ visit to Ireland is a cause of excitement to many and dismay to others. Beneath the flurry of events associated with the World Meeting of Families and the simmering controversy around protests, his visit is an opportunity to reflect on one of the major emphases of his papacy, says Kevin Hargaden.

    Read more

  • Prisoner Amnesty for Papal Visit

    pope prisonersEoin Carroll's article in the Irish Times looks back to the arrival of John Paul II in 1979, when 76 prisoners were granted early release, and questions why there is no mention of an amnesty to coincide with the visit of Pope Francis.

    Read more

  • Safe Spaces For Young People in Prison

    youth day 2018The theme of International Youth Day 2018 is Safe Spaces for Youth, something that resonates strongly with the work in prison and penal reform that the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice is involved in. The centre has long been an advocate for changes in the prison system for young adults, whom we view as a discrete demographic group, worthy of particular consideration.

    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

wn420

Exploring Social Justice

Why Care - Social Justice Awareness for Younger People

Peter McVerry SJ discusses drug decriminalisation in the Irish Times

drug policy picturePeter McVerry SJ discusses drug decriminalisation in the Irish Times

Writing a series of five opinion pieces for the Irish Times, McVerry, in his latest article, discusses why he believes drugs should be decriminalised. He argues that the ‘war on drugs’ has failed wider society and the person dependent on drugs.

The cost to the individual when their substance misuse is treated with punishment, and the woefully inadequate number of treatment facilities in the country.

 

“Every drug user I have worked with has come to a point in their life when they wanted to give up drugs. There is then a small window of opportunity to help them. However, if treatment is not available, or if they have to go on long waiting lists, then the window of opportunity may close.”

Describing the cost to society, McVerry tells a story of attending court with a young man who has been charged with possession of cannabis to the value of €2. While he does not attempt to calculate the actual financial cost, the total must be staggering as it is adjourned four times: several court appearances which Gardái have to attend, free legal aid, judicial salary – not to mention the cost of a prison sentence.

Furthermore, he notes the wider social costs, and why these are rarely taken into account when discussing the ‘war on drugs’:

“On average, a person using illegal drugs on a regular basis might commit two crimes a day to pay for their habit. If a person joins a six-month waiting list, they may commit 350 crimes while waiting for treatment. If, after five years, they have remained drug-free, society has been spared some 3,500 crimes... Of course, you cannot see 3,500 crimes not being committed so it is difficult to persuade politicians that treatment is value for money.”

If you would like to read more on Peter McVerry’s views on drugs in Ireland, see below:

Drug Policy: Need for Radical Change? - Fr. Peter McVerry SJ writes in a special issue of Working Notes.
Fr. McVerry in Late Late Show debate on decriminalising drugs
Fr. McVerry discusses drug gangs and decriminalisation on Radio 1

For the full article in the Irish Times click here.

Posted in Health Policy News

Print Email