Pubdate: Tue, 01 Jun 1999
Date: 06/01/1999
Source: Irish Times (Ireland)
Author: Dr Ian O'Donnell

Sir, - Philip Casey (May 26th) is horrified that we continue to send
beggars to prison under the 1847 Vagrancy Act. His letter touches a
nerve at a time when smug self-congratulations are the order of the

Mr Casey might be even more shocked to learn that, according to the
most recent published statistics, two out of every five prison
sentences are handed down for the non-payment of fines.

At a time of unprecedented prosperity and falling crime it is
difficult to understand the Government's determination to build more
penal institutions to warehouse the poor.

Yours, etc., DR IAN O'DONNELL, Director, Irish Penal Reform Trust,
Lower Dominick Street, Dublin 1