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Rocky the Dog and the Sit Down Protest

category limerick | crime and justice | feature author Saturday September 01, 2007 13:29author by ronan Report this post to the editors

featured image

On Tuesday afternoon there was a sit down protest by about 30 inmates in the yard of Limerick Prison. According to rte.ie the protest was against harsh punishments imposed on those caught with drugs by the prison governor, as the deployment of 'Rocky' the sniffer dog has led to the seizure of most drugs coming into Limerick Prison.

Listeners to Tuesdays Newstalks Lunchtime with Eamon Keane were treated to the unappetising performance of Eamon and his Mid-West correspondent crowing victoriously about Rockys successes and the resulting problems for users experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

For anyone who hasnt seen Trainspotting, going off heroin cold turkey is not a pretty picture; one Rehab centre lists common symptoms such as tremors, panic, chills, nausea, muscle cramps, insomnia, stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, shaking, chills or profuse sweating, irritability and jitteryness. Given the generally scant facilities for treatment of addicts in Irish prison its unlikely that prisoners received much in the way of assistance. Its a tad disquieting when its acceptable to publicly gloat over this kind of experience in other people.

Related Links: Brazil Prison Riot | Belfast Telegraph's Coverage | Brazil Prsion Riot | Irish Prison Reform Trust | More From the WSM On Represstion | Irish Prison Reform Trust

But the right wing loves this kind of bullshit, they love to condemn and criminalise the most powerless sectors of society, they should do, it works perfectly to their advantage. Heroin use is endemic in Irish prisons, this is not surprising given that Irelands prison population are overwhelmingly drawn from a small number of areas of extreme disadvantage, areas in which heroin use is also a severe problem. But thats not the whole story, one survey of heroin use in prisons in Ireland found that one in five users had first injected while in prison, suggesting that prison actually makes the problem worse rather than better (Source: IPRT submission to European Committee for the Prevention of Torture 2006). It's not a massive leap of the imagination to suggest that the dire conditions for Irish prisoners including overcrowding, long periods of lock up, and a lack of purposeful activity help to encourage drug use as a welcome escape from this harsh reality.

Despite the thousands of people with addiction related problems being incarcerated annually, there are only a few dozen places available on a treatment program, with the only other option being the secure wing in Mountjoy. One might be so optimistic as to think that treating addiction would be an obvious first step in developing a humane and rehabilitative service, but obviously the Irish prison system does not operate in the realms of earthly logic. Prison policy in Ireland, when it isn't 'tougher sentences, tougher bail' is 'more of the same'. The relatively new prison at Cloverhill is dire and dingy, it's not likely that the 'Super-prison' yet to be built will be much better.

Politicians love to shit on prisoners cos it makes them seem clean. Seizing drugs, phones and budgies don't solve anything, they just distract from the social causes of crime. If there's to be any justice in the justice system, it won't come from the state, it will have to come from people organising to demand it.

Related Link: http://struggle.ws/wsm/crime.html
author by dcpublication date Fri Aug 31, 2007 08:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So if the survey says that 1 in 5 heroin users first injected while in prison, but then Rocky helps to take heroin out of the prison, what does that do to the numbers again?

author by Limerick Prison Graduatepublication date Sat Sep 01, 2007 15:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Prison inmates 'take out contract on sniffer dog's life'
28/08/2007 - 07:50:26
Criminals in Limerick Prison have reportedly taken out a contract on the life of a sniffer dog who has almost cleared the prison of drugs.

Reports this morning say inmates are so frustrated with the dog's success that they have ordered their associates to have him killed.

The two-year-old black-and-white spaniel called Rocky is reportedly making an average of 10 drug finds every day in the prison's visiting area.

Visits are down by more than 30% since he began his work.

author by CUJO - ... rare meat please ...publication date Sat Sep 01, 2007 18:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'll be waiting on you, then you will learn the error of your touting ways.

Til then, farewell


author by Deirdre - Limerick Prison Graduates' Associationpublication date Sat Sep 01, 2007 19:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think Rocky deserves a good home and pleasant workplace - anyone on for a rescue mission? I'll adopt him. No animal should have to live in that kip. Having said that, no human should either ...

author by aristotlepublication date Sat Sep 01, 2007 21:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Judging from the preceeding comments, some people seem to think that prisoners have a right to have access to narcotics while paying their debt to society.

Sorry folks, prison is to punish and to keep undesirables off the streets, it is not an opium den.

Good on Rocky. BTW, Rocky is a brown and white springer-spaniel, a breed known both for its gentleness, even temprament, and of course, keeness of its nose.

Rocky seems to be a productive member of society - unlike some of the folk who he has mightily pissed-off

author by Limerick Prison Graduatepublication date Sat Sep 01, 2007 21:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What is productive for society about prison?

If as a democrat you view prison AS punishment not FOR punishment, you could be addressing the dire living conditions of Limerick Prison rather than the pathetic attempts to esape it through narcotics.

Free the dog!

author by Michelle Clarke - Social Justice and Ethicspublication date Sat Sep 01, 2007 22:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ronan. I read with interest your posting, though I may differ in view, and the attached detail also.

Rocky is a splendid specimen of canine but he is unaware of moral effects of sniffing trips to Limerick jail. In a way, Rocky, similar to myself with brain injury, just engages in the known act......sniffing drugs (not me) at the intent of others who determine what his function is.

However, I am a dog lover, for their company, for their empathy, for their ability to assist me with my walking, meeting people, and the possibility of being able to live independently of a care situation......

I tend to look for the positive effects for animals for no other reason than the shame that Ireland is second from the bottom in Europe and destroying their dogs; ill treating their dogs and worst of all as highlighted by the Revd. Ian Paisley today re. Panorama programme, showing up the cold and callous minded people, trading, profiting, stealing, and then providing dog fighting rings.

Worst of all is to be informed of a supposedly intelligent GAA player to be visibly involved in what is criminal and I mean really criminal. You see here it is nt social deficit for him, as can be the case of many prisoners, but here we are talking about serious intent to cause harm to a living animal - this creates an abyss about human nature, act, mind and violence.

Ronan. Is there a positive that can be arrived at regarding Rocky and the other Sniffer Dogs We have had the well advertised suicide conference in Kerry this weekend - the interesting point is that 20% of suicide are apportioned to blame!!!

A blitz to the prison and in the surprise so many drugs and mobile phones are sourced. Indymedia writers have prompted this for months so therefore let us assume that the prisons have made serious provision for 'Withdral' and more importantly rehabilitation for prisoners in need of same. This is surely a right to people. Trainspotting aptly describes withdrawal and you are right, it is to be avoided. It is inhuman. It can also occur in relation to people on psychiatric drugs.......particularly where there is a sudden stop....

Dogs as inmates and rehabilitation programmes like in the UK might be a suggestion......

I suggest if you are interested in a balance that you access the animals category.....there are many interesting inputs.

There is an article written about 'Pets in Limbo as Government shirks responsibility' by Miriam Anderson in Anvil.

I have written under this topic too......the cruelty involved is beyond belief and yet there is no protection in this regard. (Mary Lou MacDonald replied by letter to me about putting a further emphasis in Europe on a Minister for animals....).

There are many groups fighting for the rights of dogs and animals and doing exceptional work.

I read the Science magazine and noted an article by researchers in Australia - 'Household pets keep kids healthy' - the immuno system is 2% enhanced. Surely, this is worth reviewing......I have immuno deficiency from ME, I am sure the company of my dog helps my immune system and he definitely lessens stress.....

Ronan......I may have a different view but the photo, the content, the 'Dawn Raid' by the prison officers with Rocky on the vulnerable drug dealing prisoners......is the key point, therein answers can be found, I hope...

Michelle Clarke

Dogs for the Blind, Sniffer Dogs for drugs (yes in prisons but also in our pubs, or other locations where drugs are being dealt)

Optimism by Amoz Oz (Israeli Novelist who has campaigned eloquently for the rights of Palestinians).

'I am optimist - with no timescale'

Related Link: http://www.osfbf.pro.ie
author by Kevin T. Walsh - Social Justice and Ethicspublication date Sun Sep 02, 2007 18:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Michelle - I enjoyed your lecture!!!!

Brilliantly put and yes we underestimate the role of canine culture in the world today. Dogs save lives, they reduce depression in vulnerable people and they are the greatest companion, a lonely person may have.

O yes, Rocky well done ...... a visit to Limerick prison that will go down in history. Limerick lost the drugs and they lost the McCarthy cup today....

Now Ronan, you stated your concerns about the welfare of people on drugs in our prisons and rightly so but you must have diversity in your way of thinking or you are going nowhere,

Let me explain to you - for every prisoner doing time on drugs in our prisons, there is a victim doing time on the outside. This is not a one way mirror Ronan, it is a two way mirror of right and wrong. You mentioned the majority of people in our prisons are from disadvantaged areas and you are 70% right but there is now an increase in Ireland in murders, in Dublin 4 and beyond, so crime has no boundaries now.

The prison system needs greater resources for education and proper probation and social services when a prisoner is released for the necessary time. This should be completed over a 2 year period at minimum to facilitate his/her rehabilitation into society. I am not saying prison works and if you read my previous articles on this site in relation to prisons, you will understand that.

Again Michelle, well done for your diversity about the wonderful dogs in the world today. Every prison needs at least 2 sniffer dogs to curtail the input of drugs.

Ronan - you gave us a litany of the wrongdoings against the prisoner. Never once did you shed a thought for the victims of crime. I ask you why? This is not an area of the 'victim being in the wrong' surely. Common sense will always prevail so let you now Ronan use some now and give us the options of how to prevent drugs and crime.

I would like a response tonight from William Finnerty on what side of the fence he stands on in relation to Crime.

William Finnerty

Smedley D. Butler (1881-1940) Major General in the US Marines turned political activist

Good Soldier (Whistleblowing in today's language)
I spent 33 years in the Marines. Most of my time being a high class muscle man for Big Business, Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism.

I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American Oil interests in 1914. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916.

I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank Boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the rape of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street.......'

Do we have Corporate crime in Ireland? If so, what proportion are subject to prison?

Related Link: http://www.osfbf.pro.ie
author by Browser.publication date Sun Sep 02, 2007 23:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Reading the "debate" on Politics.ie is like listening to a few drunks at closing time. Even most of the trolls on indymedia are able to present more coherent arguments.

author by ronanpublication date Sun Sep 02, 2007 23:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

just for the slow of thought the point of the article was not to give out about some poor dog, suggest it is moral, immoral or otherwise. the fact that a happy dog was used as the picture (i resisted using the byline 'another lapdog of the state') might suggest a small amount of humour. but thats okay, some people don't have irony glands.

the point about the article was to argue that stuntist things like Rocky, mobile phone seizures etc mask the real problem at work in prisons and in society at large. I don't think heroin use is a good thing, but I don't think that the prison service is particularly interested in preventing it, otherwise they would provide adequate treatment facilities in prison for addicts. they don't do this.in fact there is a lot about the Irish prison service that actively encourages addiction (long periods under lock up, extremely bad conditions, overcrowding, poor facilities for treatment of mental illness, the list goes on a long way) so while you'd prefer to ridicule the argument because of it's tongue in cheek title, you're playing straight into the hands of those politicians who would rather avoid the real issues.

let the inanity re-commence.

author by Diogenespublication date Mon Sep 03, 2007 13:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It will take years to see the benefits of proper penal reform. However, no Irish politician looks beyond the next election. They only wish to present their constituents with the veneer of instant results. By posturing and prattling on about getting tough on criminals and prisoners, they can portray themselves as a "hands on, no nonsense" type of politician.

Related Link: http://hrw.org/advocacy/prisons/un-smrs.htm
author by Deirdre - Limerick Prison Graduates' Associationpublication date Mon Sep 03, 2007 14:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Even skimming that abovementioned 'debate' on politics.ie gives me a new appreciation of Indymedia. It astounds me that some of the people posting there didn't get the humour/irony in this article and much of the related commentary on this thread.

A couple of people have said to me recently that they thought politics.ie had more balanced debate. I thought I'd give it a try, as some of the trolls on Indymedia are rather irritating at times. Politics.ie is not remotely as well put together as Indymedia. While there are annoying people using Indymedia sometimes to push their latest conspiracy theories and weird paranoid notions, the moderators, overall, do a decent job, voluntarily, of balancing freedom of expression with sensible decisions as to what content to hide. The quality will be variable on any site where the content is provided by users. However, Indymedia has enough quality to make it worthwhile and many really good regular contributors, such as Damien Moran, Paula Geraghty, and various others in the last few years, such as redjade, Chekov & co. who have provided important reportage (and continue to do so).

I don't see the moderators over at politics.ie doing much about the factually inaccurate Indy-bashing that's going on in their threads.

Hats off to Indymedia. Again.

author by dpublication date Mon Sep 03, 2007 16:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The link in the article body to 'More from the WSM on Repression', is going to the wrong place. If readers are interested in more anarchist analysis of Crime and the Justice system, they can find it at http://wsm.ie/repression and http://struggle.ws/wsm/crime.html

Related Link: http://www.wsm.ie
author by Michelle Clarke - Social Justice and Ethicspublication date Tue Sep 04, 2007 11:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The treatment of prisoners is disgraceful......not in line with their constitutional rights. Then you mention prisoners who are medicated for mental illness...

I get lost then.

I understand the foregoing and acknowledge the need for greater adherence to EU Human Rights legislation. This can be done by linking to groups like the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Irish Penal Reform Trust, Department of Justice and Equality and Law Reform links, Law Reform

Also, the late Mr. Justice Kinlan had been working on a detailed report relating to the Prison system, prior to his death several months ago. This will be passed on to another Judge no doubt shortly, so I would suggest keeping a look out. As far as I am aware Mr. Kinlan's team worked on the report for two years approx.

As for Rocky the Dog - Give him a chance, Reward him with a bone, a walk, and a photo every so often. Note the number of smiles he brings to the faces of everyday people.

Why not: The illegal drugs that penetrate our ports, airports our country are about making dealers rich and poor people ill and casualties of life. It makes sense to get the dog to do his specialty and then the CAB (yes the Criminial Assets Bureau) can target the dealers by way of profilers and snatch the cash back or the asset and sell for cash......It is up to people with a view against drug dealing to then ensure the CAB allocate a % of their gross intake to the establishment of Addiction and Drug Centres, to the highest specification of those found in the UK and US (private).

Now we have a chain reaction starting with less dogs being put to death (Ireland 2nd worst in Europe) and now thanks to Sportlight BBC it shows us to be a country engaged in hideous shameful dog fights........


Consuming Passions
Ivan Illich (b. 1926) Austrian born philosopher
In a consumer society, there are inevitably two kinds of slaves, the prisoners of ADDICTION and the prisoners of ENVY......

If you type in prisons under the search button, there are several written by K.T. Walsh, some related to the Block in Cork.

Related Link: http://www.osfbf.pro.ie
author by Sen Ryanpublication date Tue Sep 04, 2007 23:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think this article is somewhat pointed in the wrong direction.

Heroin isn't as popular in Limerick prison as it is in Mountjoy for example. The vast majority of Rocky's discoveries being plain old cannabis bear this position out. There are no major withdrawl symptoms associated with going off ganja.

Another point to be made is that the vast majority of these finds have happened in the middle of visits. The result being there has been over a 30% decrease in visits. There are two points to be made from this observation. Firstly this is entrapment. Rocky should be deployed in the visitor waiting area. Secondly, Limerick gangs can afford and have other methods of getting drugs into prison that don't involve the peacemeal methodology used by individuals who beg a loved one to bring in a small score for them. It should be also pointed out that individuals who bring in drugs for gangs, via exchanges during visits, may have been coerced to do so. This makes this form of entrapment even more disgusting.

The gist of my argument is that: even though Rocky can detect other hard drugs and he could be used in searches that covered the whole of the prison, he isn't. Why not?

Because this is not about eliminating drugs from the prison. It is about keeping the prison overcrowded with inmates doing very short sentences, so that there is no room for more serious offenders. This keeps serious crime on the streets and provides the excuse to build more prisons where we can lock up more people for short terms. For the most part serious criminals will either stay out of prison or have shorter prison terms. What does this facilitate?

Lots of serious crime on our streets makes for a brutal police force being seen as being reasonable. As has also been pointed out by another contributer, the politicians are being seen to be doing something and getting their hands dirty. where as in reality the politicians are really only keeping the status quo. After all this methodology does not target the source of the drugs or their capital. It targets end users and in fact guarantees more drugs will be imported and that prices and profits will rise.

In fairness to the author of this article, I should say that he's right in regard to saying that treatment for drug addiction in Irish prisons is all but non-existing. With regard to rehabilitation: this is but propaganda. Irish prisons are about punishment only. Check out the library in Limerick prison for example. Check out the educational programs. All looks fine on paper, in practice it's a joke.

As for Politics.ie, I'd not take to heart this type of criticism for the most part. If I had a major problem with the particular thread, I'd comment on it there. Why offer a platform here?

For the most part Politics.ie is a very decent site with some quite brilliant debate and debaters. I think the current Indy thread there is not typical of the site in general. Of course there are some contributers there who will use any excuse to moan or belittle. That's hardly new, nor is it confined to Politics.ie.

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/75087
author by PrisonWatchpublication date Wed Sep 05, 2007 10:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The world according to Sean Ryan can be summarised thus: apparently, the government is actively increasing serious crime levels - nay, deliberately giving brutal criminals free reign on our streets - in order to justify a more violent and repressive police force and give themselves an excuse to build more prisons, thus turning Ireland into something resembling a police state.

We may live in a conservative country full of gombeen politicians, but this is an extremely convoluted theory. An unsurprising one coming from that particular source, however. Clear as mud.

author by vinniepublication date Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:24author email vin_moran at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Am I right in understanding that this article is condemning removing drug from prisons as it is a prisoner's right to do drugs in prison? These people are not in prison for being nice guys.

I am not generally against drug use (as long as it does affect the freedoms of another person) but many involved are a THREAT to the average person. You can go on about social inequality till your face turns blue (and i do agree that it is a factor) but by doing so you are denying the fact that there is also a CHOICE involved.

It is incredable to believe that in modern Ireland it appears that the criminals have more rights and support than victims do.

It just seems that your sentiments are misplaced.

Here is another concept worth kicking around - a lot of criminals (and im talking in particular about young offenders) come from severly deprived backgrounds (economic and emotional), but detention centres for them have become so pleasant with modern armenities (playstations and plasma tvs) that they are often much nicer than the offenders home. That is why some young offenders call it a 'holdiay home'. What sort of deterrant is that?

author by Diogenespublication date Wed Sep 05, 2007 12:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Places of detention are not solely to act as a deterrent ( see my previous attachment, especially section 58 and 59). The idea is to punish, but also to ensure that upon release an inmate can integrate into society. This should be emphasised even more so when dealing with young offenders. As regards young offenders institutes, the problem is that, yes , they are treated like holiday homes. The detainees are given their playthings and left alone. When it comes to social work, conselling etc., the system is underfunded and undermanned. It just means young offenders leave exactly the same as they went in. It's a cop out for all concerned. Buying a few toys is extremely cheap, it keeps the detainees heads down and upon release the authorities can wash their hands of them. Of course when they re-offend, certain talking heads can say "I told you so, you can't do anything with these people except lock them all up". Again, this allows politicians to be 'hard on crime'.

author by vinniepublication date Wed Sep 05, 2007 14:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I agree that the 'hard on crime' and tougher sentences is a complete cop out (excuse the pun) and a politician's wet dream, but the mentality of a lot of offenders is that they don't mind being caught again and again because the detention is a joke. It is like an ASBO to them; a badge to show off how 'mad' they are to their mates. They also know that at holiday times during the year (xmas, easter) they are allowed back home and onto the streets - making a mockery of the idea of detention and making the streets very dangerous for decent citizens. Ask gardai about the problems they have with crime over those two wkends and you will see what i mean. And what will happen if they are caught committing a crime while they are out (stealing cars is a favorite)? They can only be sent back to the same holiday camp while the car you worked so hard for is in flames.

There is no fear of reprocussion whatsoever. Im not saying 'lets just cane them in the streets, that'll show em', because i no this will not solve the problem, but somewhere along the line criminals' rights have usurped victims' rights. And too much emphasis is put on the idea that criminals are not responsible for their actions because of social inequality. There is a huge amount of truth in social inequality as a source of crime but too many see it as a the ONLY factor - choice is a huge part. The individual has responsibility. We are not talking about crimes of necessity ie stealing food out of hunger. These are crimes for crimes sake.

I agree also that there is no decent rehab for prisoners (both young and senior) and when they are released into society they fall straight back into the old routeine as before. One of the major factors in the cause of crime that rarely to never gets talked about is overpopulation of areas of disadvantage. Politicians consistently give planning permission for shoe-box houses in areas that are crime blackspots - creating a new problem for future generations. Just take a look at coolock where they are buying peoples gardens off them to slap together more poor housing and facilitating the perpetuation of crime in these areas. Then in well-to-do areas residents oppose affordable housing - because they don't want 'poorer' people in the area.

I have gone off the point there, but basically the point im making is that the article above is rediculus and really does nothing except discredit this site because it comes across trumping prisoners rights over those of victims. There are many problems with our prison system but i dont think we should be dedicating too much time to the plight of drug addicts who arent allowed do drugs in prison. Not being allowed to do drugs in prison should be a given. There are other more important issue that need to be addressed.

author by elmer fuddpublication date Wed Sep 05, 2007 14:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I must admit I never really got that together & credit the disability with allowing me to enter sub-cultures & in many ways lead & enjoy a more fulfilling & emotionally balanced life repleat with experiences of varying woe or joy than if I had done my bestest to integrate into a society where -
people worry more about working hard for a car than why people are addicted to smack or crack.
But then again, as I'm often reminded by other users of this site, I'm one of those who takes it as a given that drugs should be allowed outside of prison. As I turn to my invisible friend Dr Wittgenstein and turn up the logic - for that given would mean less problem drug users engaged in acquistive crime entering prison. Ah! but do addicts burn cars? Do they really go to all the trouble of nicking them and then burn them instead of stripping them for spare parts or giving them a spray job and smuggling them over the border into Ulster & Dr P's jurisdiction?? Nope. I feel confident, even as a pro+ decriminalisation of drugs muppet of notoriety that sociopaths are being confused with problem drug users. Hmmmm. I see we needs loads of Wittgenstein before we get to Spartacus. Funny thing is - every september and every new Labour leader fever time in Ireland is like that. But to finish -
Decriminalise drugs & thus facilitate transparency on domestic and global narcotic & alkaloid supply.
You know? Do Dubai & Halliburton, the lords of opium & fu manchu - out in the open where no shadows lie.

You were forging mainstream clichs I believe - carry on! sorry to interrupt.

author by VINNIEpublication date Wed Sep 05, 2007 14:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

here here for the drugs legalisation/transparency calls! But less of the insults on the mainstream cliche please, its really not needed. As for the car burning out bit - i didnt mean to suggest that heroin addicts are responsible but trust me the joyriding/car buring/drug culture of socio economically deprived areas in this country go hand in hand.

author by vinniepublication date Wed Sep 05, 2007 15:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Oh and im not the kind of person you suggest either who is material driven, but i do live in darndale and its really not nice to have your older parents scared witless because some moron - addict or not- wants to steal their car or smash their windows in for a laugh. It's easy to discuss and intellectualise crime but trust me when the effects are something you live in the middle of it's a bit harder to ignore.

author by Gan ainm - Anarchist Black Crosspublication date Wed Sep 05, 2007 16:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I did a few years in the north and on a political landing so i recognise that the issues discussed above may be a bit removed from my own experience, however i hope i can put some perspective towards those who celebrate the discomfort of prisoners as revenge for the discomfort of victims of crime.
I agree that to a large extent anti-social crime such as house breaking is often carried out drug addicts who end up inside, furthermore such crimes represent a very real oppression of vulnerable working class people, all radical thinkers should do their bit to confront the people involved in such behavior and stop it.
Because one thing is certain, the police and their judicial system wont do it for us, they are at best incapable and at worst unwilling to stop it so busy are they protecting wealthy institutions and projects such as the shell refinery. Indeed the police view drug addicts engaged in such behaviour as a good source of informants and so often give them free reign to carry on.
Does prison stop anti - social behaviour? Well there have never been as many people locked up - so go and ask communities if it is working.
Now as for conditions inside, playstations, plasma screens etc, firstly anybody who says prisoners have plasma TVs are probably talking shite, while playstations are infact a god send for authorities of a prison which is so overcrowded that riots are a daily possibility. Playstations stop people speaking to eachother, they keep people from thinking and that is great for screws.
As does heroin, investigations into British prisons have found that substantial amounts of heroin are in fact brought in by screws, im guessing that southern Gaols are no different. Mark Barnsely rightly pointed out how in British prisons heroin replaced cannibis as the drug of choice precisely because the system introduced compulsory urine testing which determined if a prisoner got parole or not, of course cannibis stays in your system for much longer than heroin. There is no way that the prison system didnt predict the explosion in heroin use, still they followed it through, WHY?
Finally in comparison to the conditions endured by some prisoners in the south, the standards of northern prisons are apparantly substansially better, that being the case and having witnessed northern conditions i can fully understand why a prisoner in somewhere like mountjoy or Limrick would turn to drugs..even heroin.
The fact is that to much of the public, especially to politicians and even to some on this page, prisoners are sub human, the appearence of dogs like this and drug crackdowns etc are merely a stunt for politicians like McDowell who need a cheap PR swipe at the expense of drug addicts who he doesnt give a shit about and who are victims of a capitalist society.
Anyone who celebrates an episode like this needs his head seem to, nasty prisons simply tell a prisoner that he lives in a state full of bad bastards, in many peoples minds this justifies their own anti-social actions.
The answer has to be social and lies with the working class.

Related Link: http://www.myspace.com/belfastabc
author by Jacqueline Fallonpublication date Wed Sep 05, 2007 16:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I would like to know the nature of the harsh punishments that were meted out to drug addicted prisoners in possession of drugs inside Limerick Prison. If the harsh punishment consisted of denial of prison visits or lock up for a brief period, then I would not regard those as harsh punishments for possession of drugs, a punishable offence in the outside world, and, therefore, should be a punishable offence in the inside world of the prison, or should drug addicted prisoners be treated differently to the rest of us and not be punished when they commit the same drugs' offence yet again? With regard to denial of prison visits as a punishment, personally, I would prefer if nobody visited me if I ended up being imprisoned but, I suppose, to the addicted prisoner, prison visits by family/friends accompanied by the prisoners eagerly anticipated beloved drugs becomes a more important exciting event than just your run-of the-mill ordinary prison visit by family/friends. Sadly, some addicts will no doubt lose interest entirely in those prison visits by family/friends when there are no drugs to be got on Rockys watch.

I presume that the prisoners left drugless will be given access to a medical doctor who will prescribe substitutes for the hard drugs to alleviate the dangerous hallucinogenic side effects of withdrawal from these drugs and also sedatives to quell the inevitable excessive sweating and nightmarish withdrawal trips theyll all have. I presume also that the drug substitutes will be administered by injection by a qualified doctor and not handed to the addictive prisoners to combine, barter and sell among themselves to the highest bidder. I presume a lot, because I dont know what happens when they confiscate these drugs; do the addicted prisoners all have to go through cold turkey at the same time, and if so, is that not a dangerous prospect for the drug free population of the prison, having so many going through withdrawals/hallucinations etc., and all at the same time?

I dont feel sorry for people choosing to consume these drugs, everyone has choices in life, and in modern times there is ample evidence of the dangers of consuming these illegal drugs (although abuse of legal prescription drugs can end just as bad). It is not like back in the '80s when there was not as much widespread media coverage or public knowledge about their lethal consequences.

With regard to Rocky who has become a target of the addicted prisoners, they must realise that to Rocky this is all just an exciting game and a fun way to pass the time, hes not aware that he has deprived them of their beloved drugs, and as a mere dog, Rocky has no malicious intent towards the addicted prisoners (no mens rea) and is, therefore, guilty of no offence and is deserving of no punishment from them.

On a final note, I would like if the addicted prisoners in time saw Rockys duties from a more positive angle and, hope, in time, they might realise he has done them all a favour - yes, this rather positive view will go down like a lead balloon to the addicted prisoners who may indeed be now considering putting a piece of lead in me, but for those who desperately wish to leave their life of drug addiction behind them, they may view Rockys activities as an opportunity to get themselves drug free and leave their slavish life of addiction behind them, and pursue an independent way of life, which will be rewarding and beneficial to them and their long suffering family/friends (God, I really hope so!).


Related Link: http://www.irishhealth.com
author by Jacqueline Fallonpublication date Wed Sep 05, 2007 18:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is a pity that the prisoners protested solely about the confiscation of drugs from them and not the bad conditions inside the prison. They would have got some support if they protested about for example, the overcrowding in the prison, and the lack of drug rehabilitation facilities, or inadequate educational resources, or the confiscation of their budgies, etc., people would have at least some sympathy (excluding those, of course, who were the victims of crimes committed by them). They will never get the support of the people by protesting about the fact that they were denied access to illegal drugs - we should all be denied access to illegal drugs and indeed some legal ones!

author by C. Murraypublication date Wed Sep 05, 2007 18:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

but if ye were not getting your conjugal rights/oats/education rights and general affection
you would probably want the drugs too. The prisoners are treated badly, the POA recognises
it and Dermot Kinlen recognised it (RIP). I think that the drugs are a reality but they are a way
out of the general medieval and inhumane conditions that prisoners are subject to.
These have resulted in two suicides, serious assault and death.

The Amnesty report for Ireland Highlighted the problems with the Gary Douch murder
and the imprisonment of five men in a Mountjoy holding cell= violence. we cannot pretend that
the situation is good in any way, but the usual spin is the drug problem and not the lack
of funding by http://www.justice.ie

[There is also a piece on the newswire about the third assault on an inmate leading to
death, we daily see campaigners subject to a hard justice system. Rossport. Glen O'
Downs and Tara- but not the people who have allowed the laws to mitigate against people
who are utilising the only rights they have left- protest-] The perecived disparity in treatments
between career criminals with lawyers and the corporate lobby as compared to the
treatment of individuals causes a lot of concern]

author by Davepublication date Thu Sep 06, 2007 18:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So we should allow the prisoners to use drugs because it allows them to tolerate the conditions in the prisons?

Do me a favour.

author by ask the prison officerspublication date Thu Sep 06, 2007 19:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

ask the prison officers who are appalled at slopping out, 23 lock ups and generally would turn a
blind eye to some drug taking- it stops riots.
of course a riot is what FF want, so they too can use it to continue the privatisation of the
prisons (already indicated in the services use of private transport companies to and from

who wrote the contract for non-union security companies to profit from misery???

Or we could go a step further and start abusing prisoners rights to privacy and conjugal
rights- oh!, thats already done, we have along with the UK , the worst prison system
in Europe. interesting, isn't it.
Shit hospitals.
Shit Prisons.
Shit schools.
and a lot of fatties in the Dail carving up the pie for the cronies and perma-tanned
'women' who whore themselves to get a slice of power- someone should write a book.

author by Gan ainmpublication date Fri Sep 07, 2007 20:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Portlaoise screws caught with drugs. mmmmm

author by Deirdre - Limerick Prison graduatepublication date Sat Sep 08, 2007 19:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The prison officers often turned a blind eye to drug use in Limerick, most particularly people smoking joints. It keep them placid and makes the prison officers' lives easier. The sudden clampdown with poor old Rocky seems like a PR exercise to me, because I often saw prison officers stroll nonchalantly past open cell doors that had the sweet smell of ganja emerging from them.

The same goes with the cable TV in each cell. Personally, I would have preferred clean shower areas and toilets with a door, rather than one stuck in the middle of the cell (with no lids - we made our own out of cardboard), which was potentially unhygienic. It was also undignified to expect people to relieve themselves in front of a cellmate (this is the women's prison - the men are worse off, obviously, in some prisons). None of this bothered me so much, as I was only in for a matter of weeks and was sharing a cell with a friend. It would wear people down over time, though. The monotony would also.

It has to be said that drugs are in prisons for a reason. I don't like that fact and don't advocate drug use. Unlike many, I actually think marijuana is problematic unless used for medicinal purposes and that heavy, prolonged use kills rational thought and competency (though that's a separate issue from whether it should be legalised). But I think it's somewhat understandable that people take drugs in prison. There's not much else to stimulate them.

What I'm saying, basically, is that they could easily afford to give people dignified living conditions while still keeping things simple - if they can afford to give everyone cable TV, they can afford showers and proper toilets, and decent educational facilities. They should get rid of the cable and improve the other facilities. The priorities, however, are not people's dignity, rehabilitation or education, but ease of life for those in authority.

author by aristotlepublication date Sat Sep 08, 2007 20:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well Deirdre,

The prisoners who were caught with the drugs didn't seem to think it was a mere PR exercise. They think it was a pretty effective exercise in enforcement, and one which they didn't like at all. Presumably that is why they reacted as they did. Tough on them.

Prison -the last recourse of the courts, and one which Irish Judges usually only exercise where the convicted criminal has a long list of previous convictions and has failed to take the opportunities afforded to mend his or her ways. I appreciate that prison conditions are often far from ideal (but they are improving), however, prison is undeniably useful for one particular thing - it keeps hardened criminals off the streets and gives the rest of us a temporary respite from the chaos and misery they inflict on society as a whole and their unfortunate victims in particular.

author by asidepublication date Sat Sep 08, 2007 20:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You need to get out in the fresh air if you believe that the prisons are improving.
cite sources on it.

author by Great gas - removefiannafailpublication date Mon Sep 17, 2007 13:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The Department of Justice has yet to publish a damning report on Irish prisons by the Inspector Dermot Kinlen, who died last July.

Judge Kinlen had submitted a scathing report to the Government on conditions in jails weeks before his death, confiding in friends that he would "go all the way" in his annual report which he believed would be his last because of his continued ill health.

Judge Kinlen, who routinely claimed that the prison system was a failure, is understood to have accused named officials of being guilty of criminal wrongdoing by failing to protect at-risk prisoners and operating sub standard conditions at Irish prisons.

He is also said to have recommended that where reckless disregard towards prisoners resulted in deaths and attacks in custody, senior government and prison officials should face proceedings for criminal wrongdoing."

Related Link: http://www.soldiersofdestiny.org
author by Michelle Clarke - Social Inclusion and understandingpublication date Sat Sep 22, 2007 20:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

When is the Mr. Justice Kinlen Report RIP to be published?

This will highlight criminality by certain people for failure to protect the right of prisoners under their auspices.

Sunday 23rd September 2007.......Anvil have arranged a conference in Citywest about animals and the lack of Government representation. Why is it that Ireland endorses inadequate puppy farming, dog-fighting, inadequate legislation to enable dogs to be recognised as in Europe. why are so many of our dogs put to sleep because nobody wants them! We need to take example from the Swedes who adopt a number of our dogs to good homes.

As Rocky (now with a prize on his head) straddles all sides, let us look with vision and ask that the visionless be granted vision........


Measured Advice by Kabir 1440-1518
'Speech is priceless if you speak with knowledge.
Weigh it on the scales of the heart before it comes from the Mouth'

Wisdom from an Indian Sufi master

Related Link: http://www.mentalhealthprisons.ie
author by Michelle Clarke - Anvil re. rights for animals, publication date Sun Sep 23, 2007 02:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

www.Avnville site for details.

author by Michelle Clarke - Social Justice and Ethicspublication date Sat Feb 09, 2008 23:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

and the options available to people willing to take on the challenge of pet ownership or adoption.

The SPCA do great work homing animals and if you live near Rathfarnham take some time and visit......

A dog is a great companion. He/she tolerates your silences and helps you experience a different sort of living....


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