Loughan House Open Prison in Blacklion, Co Cavan has been praised in an inspection report, as a model for other prisons to follow.
Judge Michael Reilly, who carried out the inspections, said the Cavan prison “It is an essential cog in the wheel of the Irish Prison Service.”
After speaking to many of the 140 prisoners, Judge Reilly noted that the biggest problem was the price of items in the tuckshop.
He noted, “Many prisoners have learned to read and write during their sentence at Loughan House, while seven inmates are doing the Gaisce award.” 22% of prisoners have sat Leaving Certificate exams at the prison while 52% have sat Junior Certificate exams. He described how prisoners are taught skills to help integrate them into society on their release with prospects of employment.
Inmates grew sunflowers to help raise money for the hospice in Sligo, they repaired bikes which have been donated to Africa, helped rear calves for charity and carried out repairs and painted local buildings as well as provided meals to around 20 senior citizens in a nearby complex once a week.