President Higgins at Wheatfield Prison – A good move by MDH

..Higgins: Why I attended prison play
Press Association – Fri, Mar 9, 2012….

.President Michael D Higgins has attended a play put together by 28
inmates at Wheatfield Prison
….President Michael D Higgins has said his attendance at a prison
play should not be misunderstood as taking away from the gravity of
the inmates’ crimes.

Wheatfield Prison invited the President to see an in-house production
of Oscar Wilde’s short story The Happy Prince after an official visit
there last December.

The show was put together by 28 inmates – both crew and cast – as part
of the west Dublin jail’s education unit programme.

They have been working on the production since October.

After watching the play, President Higgins said he has always been a
strong advocate for rehabilitation and support of people on the
margins, including those in penal institutions.

“Such programmes not only help the individuals concerned but have a
benefit for wider society,” he said.

“I am of course conscious and very sensitive to the fact that many
people in our prisons have committed violent crimes and caused grave
hurt and distress for so many people and I would not wish my support
of rehabilitation to be in any way seen to be minimising the gravity
of the crimes that have been committed.”

Mr Higgins said he had indicated in his inauguration speech that he
would make a point of supporting the most excluded in society,
including those in institutional care, during his term in office.

“I do believe that all of society benefits from effective programmes
of rehabilitation which my visit to Wheatfield was supporting and I
congratulate the prison authorities for their commitment to this
constructive work,” he added.