Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

Lesbianism, Prisons and absolute bunkum

April 26th, 2010 · 13 Comments · Equality, Social Policy

Did any of the many public figures who commented yesterday on the resignation of Kathleen McMahon as governor of the Dochas Centre in Mountjoy say anything about her comments on overcrowding causing an increase in lesbianism in the prison?

Ms McMahon said the regime within the centre had been designed to treat women with dignity and respect aimed at their successful reintegration into society.

However, the centre was now so overcrowded, the progressive regime was being cannibalised.

“I would say it probably would go back to the way it was years ago: self-mutilation, bullying, depression, lesbianism.?

Relationships between women in prisons happen all over the world and not just in soap operas. And the number of women in prison, sharing cells or not doesn’t seem to have effect. It still happens. Women seek relationships, companionship, friendship because they are lonely or exploring their sexuality or have nothing else to do. They may not seek to remain in relationships with women once they leave prison and no matter how terrible the conditions are in Dochas I don’t think citing lesbianism as a resulting problem is going to worry the prison service officials. There are certainly lesbians in prison – ie. women who were lesbian before they were committed.

Referring to lesbianism in the same breath as self-mutilation, bullying and depression indicates to me that Ms McMahon has no understanding of human sexuality no matter how long she has worked in her position.

Reform of the penal system and a reflection on why women end up in prison for crimes that men would not be sentenced for would be timely, as well as examination and action on the mental health, addiction problems and exploitation of women outside the prison system that lands them inside at all.

Mary Rogan reflects further and far more calmly on the wider issues involved in a post on Human Rights in Ireland Blog

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