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Murder is more than an image thing

category national | crime and justice | opinion/analysis author Sunday March 26, 2006 14:36author by Seán Ryan Report this post to the editors

Short article that examines murder in Ireland

In 1950 five people were murdered in this country - according to Garda statistics. In 2002 fifty two people were murdered. This is an increase of 1040%. Fair enough I suppose people might be more likely to report a murder these days, or maybe it has something to do with our population size.

What prompted the murder rate to rise?

Truth is nobody knows for sure. Here’s some contributers nonetheless:
i. It became more socially acceptable to kill a fellow human than it was – life got cheaper. Eg. Our government has a policy that cheapens human life. We help the USA kill foreigners whose resources it wants to steal. And peace activists are put through the court system. Crimes against capitalism bear the brunt of the focus of the justice system.
ii. The massing of large numbers of people into cities and into close proximity to one and other contributed also, at the very least it provided opportunity and provided it at an increased rate. In 1980 however there were only 21 murders and most of the massing process had been completed at that stage. This massing must therefore not be seen as the major contributer.
iii. Murders described by the mainstream press as ‘Gangland’ constitute a large bulk of today’s murders. They are a direct reflection of Black-Market activities. These ‘Gangland’ murders are a major contributer to the rise in murders over the last 20 years or so. But they still do not explain or account for the intial phenomonenal growth.
iv. The competency of the justice system has to be a factor. How major a factor is hard to fully gauge. But if the need to kill has increased then the effectiveness of justice must be seen to have decreased and decreased proportionally to the increase in actual crime. This is an unfair criticism in some respects, the reason being that it is really an issue of prioritisation rather than competency. Although not to recognise this should figure into any competency rating calculated. I’ll go into more detail on this shortly.
v. Capitalism and the consumerisation of the Irish people seems to have the same curve that defines the rise in the murder rate describe its own assent. The suicde rate has followed a similar steep climb. Could be a coincidence but I don’t think so. A diversion in the flow of attention towards commercialisation from socialisation logically results in a negative effect on society. Proportionality again playing an important role.

In 2002 there were 18 people doing a sentence of 10 or more years but less than life and there were 13 prisoners doing life. Remember at this point that not all these prisoners are in for murder. That’s 31 prisoners out of a prison population that averages 3481 on any given day once one adds back in the 282 prisoners on temporary release at any given day.

In 2004 the prison service budget was €305,000,000

The prison population over the last number of years has remained fairly constant give or take less than a 10% swing.

The prison system tells us that it costs €83,800 on average to keep a single prisoner for a year (very creative of them). This doesn’t begin to address the cost ivolved in getting the criminal into the prison however. Think Courts and Gardaí. The Gardaí alone cost about a €billion to run for a year. There’s a little over 12,000 gardaí in the country.

Very few prisoners are doing very serious time. Most prisoners are doing time for something not so serious. Usually around half or close to it in the prison population at any given time are doing sentences of less than three months.


Half of €305,000,000 is €152,500,000.


Prison populations: if only to be fiscally viable, or even God forbid effective, they must be top heavy with prisoners doing heavy sentences. If one focuses on crime in proportion to its seriousness the arranging of the prison system in this fashion will occur naturally. The fact that it does not occur naturally, naturally shows the justice system to be nothing other than a trojan horse by which capitalism exerts ever more pressure on us.

The justice system has lots of good people in it. They do not control it however and must stand idly by whilst it spins further out of human control.

http://www.cso.ie/ central statistics office

Further reading:-

Crime, a child of need or greed? - http://www.indymedia.ie/article/73972

Decriminalise Shoplifting - http://www.indymedia.ie/article/74676

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Fri May 05, 2006 04:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Today, Herr McDowell announced that the figure for those on temporary release from prison at any one time is 3%. (maybe he's including prison guards, personnel,and visitors in the figure he uses for the number that inhabit the prison system)

My calculations have it at 8.1% (I only include prisoners in my figures)

He's probably working from figures newer than mine, but I believe he would have remarked that the figure had more than halved in a very short period of time.

Of course he probably doesn't want people to examine figures.

Ah well.

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