Prisons bursting - too often with “small-time offenders”

Prisons bursting – too often with “small-time offenders”

Following the worrying government report on the prison service’s €27 million debt comes news that the country’s jails are bursting – and not for any of the right reasons.
A “significant number” of people behind bars are only there because they don’t have the money they need to pay the fines they have been given.
“We have prisons over-filled with small-time offenders,” Conceição Gomes of the justice observatory told Correio da Manhã newspaper, guaranteeing that the percentage was “very significant”.
The country’s jails have space for 12,280 prisoners, writes CM, but numbers, “which don’t stop rising”, have already topped 14,400. It is the highest number of people behind bars that the prison service has ever registered.
Meantime, prison guards are once again threatening strike action over the day-to-day “insecurity” they feel within the service.
According to CM, the prison guards union SICGP could be coming out on strike again as early as next month.
At issue, says the union’s president Júlio Rebelo, is the lack of dialogue with prison services’ director Rui Sá Go.
“We’ve run out of trust, and we are once again demanding his resignation,” Rebelo told CM.
The union’s last strike ran for 21 days (between April and May this year).