The Council of Europe report is out this week and I imagine it is a long boring dreary read. But one little gem hopped off the pages.
"Estimating the amount spent per day for the detention of one person in an institution for juvenile offenders in 2014, the EU average cost was €284 per offender." In Northern Ireland though the cost shoots up to €900 per day but are you sitting down? Here in the Potato Republic, we citizens are forking out, TWO-THOUSAND-SEVEN-HUNDRED and SEVENTY-THREE euros per day per inmate at Oberstown detention centre.
How the fuck ……. ? How is that even remotely possible? Is there something in the Atlantic air that makes our young prisoners so expensive? The taxpayer funds a single man looking for work to the tune of €188 a week but a juvenile offender who is behind bars for a reason costs the same taxpayers €19,411 a week. That's over a hundred times more!!
From the little I know about the facility at Oberstown it was custom built to be bright and airy and the emphasis is on rehabilitation rather than punishment but how can that cost nearly twenty grand a week for each kid there? Are prison officers on CEO money? Is each kid assigned eight social workers and four psychologists? Surely the Board of Directors are not creaming it off the top?
And it's not just the juveniles. "Ireland is also above average in terms of the average cost for the detention per person in all penal institutions, including the country’s prisons for adults. The cost stands at €189 per day per inmate, compared to the European average of €101. In England and Wales it costs €116 and in Scotland it is €125 per inmate," according to the article today.
In a previous piece here I highlighted the fact that seventy per cent of our prison population are inside due to failure to pay money they owed and you'd have to say that in most of those cases, they mustn't have had the money. But when a guy is before the beak for non-payment of say, €500, how does it make sense for the State to imprison him at a cost to the taxpayer of €189 a day, (or €1,323/Week).
We are told that, "The average length of imprisonment in Ireland is 2.8 months," and if so that comes to €1,323/Week for eleven weeks, or €14,533. Fourteen and a half grand then becomes the price to the State for a single individual not having €500 when needed and that is true of nearly three-quarters of all of our imprisoned.
There has got to be a better way!