Heather Perrin, a 61-year-old woman born into a modest background where third-level education was not an option, one who “pulled herself up by the bootstraps” to progress from legal secretary to qualified solicitor at the age of 31, and to a seat on the bench at 57, is now consigned to An Dóchas women’s prison.
Prisoners there now routinely double up in rooms designed as private singles, and sleep in “hard bunk beds with thin duvets”, in the words of one source.
A woman known for her liking for good jewellery and prestigious car marques, one for whom her public face and dignity were perceived to be particularly important, will be reduced to purchasing stock from the prison shop on a stipend of less than €2 a day.
However, one of the biggest challenges she faces in prison, perhaps, will be the known fact of her former occupation, a factor acknowledged by Judge Mary Ellen Ring.
Judge not, lest ye be etc.
(Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)