Facts:
  • 1. There are 4,039 people in prison custody in Ireland (01 April 2019).
  • 2. The rate of imprisonment in Ireland is approximately 82 per 100,000 of the general population (end of February 2019)
  • 3. The prison population increased by 400% from 1970 to 2011.
  • 4. In 2017, the average cost of an “available, staffed prison space” was €68,635.
  • 5. In 2017 there were 4,900 prisoners committed serving sentences of less than 12 months.
  • 6. The majority of Irish prisoners have never sat a State exam and over half left school before the age of 15.
  • 7. Four in ten children (under 16 years) on custodial remand have a learning disability. (Anderson & Graham 2007)
  • 8. From 1996 to 2017, the numbers in custody increased by 68% (2,191 to 3,680).
  • 9. There are 60 people in prison slopping out, without in-cell sanitation (January 2019)
  • 10. In 2017, there were 2,261 committals to prison for the non-payment of court-ordered fines, a decrease from 8,439 in 2016.
  • 11. Committals under immigration decreased to 418 in 2017 from 421 in 2016.
  • 12.In 2017 the number of committals under sentence of children aged 17 was 13.
  • 13. The number of sentenced committals for road traffic offences decreased from 3,791 in 2016 to 982 in 2017.
  • 14. The average number of females in custody was 144 in 2017, a 2.9% increase on the 2016 average of 140.
  • 16. Dóchas women’s prison is operating at 135% of its recommended maximum capacity. (31 January 2018)
  • 15. In 2015, the annual cost per child in child detention schools was €340,983 (This statistic relates specifically to Oberstown Children Detention Campus)
  • 17. Prisoners are 23 times more likely to come from (and return to) a seriously deprived area, compared with the least deprived areas. (O'Donnell et al., 2007)
  • 18. In January 2019, of 570 restricted regime prisoners: 33 were Rule 62; 520 were Rule 63 (voluntary); 11 were Rule 63 (involuntary); and 6 were Rule 64
  • 19. The overall daily average number of prisoners in custody in 2017 was 3,680 compared to 3,718 in 2016, a decrease of 1.1%.
  • 20. 85% of fine defaulters are back in custody within four years.
  • 21. The daily average number of female offenders in custody rose by 29% in the ten year period between 2006 and 2016.
  • 22. As of January 2019, 1,775 (45%) prisoners were required to use the toilet in the presence of another prisoner
  • 23. Committals under sentence of less than 3 months decreased by 69.3% (from 8,820 in 2016 to 2,704 in 2017).
  • 24. On 30 November 2017, 736 prisoners were on remand.
  • 25. In 2008, of 520 prisoners who enrolled in school at Mountjoy Prison, 20% could not read or write and 30% could only sign their names.
  • 26. As of January 2019, 2,013 (51%) prisoners were accommodated in single cells.
  • 27. As of January 2019, 35 prisoners held on a restricted regime were aged 18-20.
  • 28. As of January 2019, there were 458 sentenced prisoners aged 50+.
  • 29. A third (33.3%) of all persons committed to prison in 2017 declared Dublin as their county of residence.
  • 30. Numbers committed with a life sentence increased from 16 in 2016 to 22 in 2017.
  • 31. According to the January 2019 census of restricted regimes, there are 40 prisoners being held on 22+ hour lock-up. In number terms, this is an increase from 9 in October 2018, but a decrease from 211 since the commencement of the survey in July 2013
  • 32. In 2011, over 70% of prisoners were unemployed on committal and a similar percentage self-report as not having any particular trade or occupation.

Welcome to Irish Penal Reform Trust

Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) is Ireland's leading non governmental organisation campaigning for rights in the penal system and the progressive reform of Irish penal policy.

Image from 'Progress in the Penal System: A famework for penal reform' - October 2017

Executive Director

Appointment announcement

Ebulletin #101

9 April 2019

IPRT Statement

Visiting Committee Reports

Care and Justice

26 February 2019

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Smart Justice = Safer Communities

Penal Policy Directions 2016-2021

Here IPRT presents its 10 priority directions for a fairer and more effective justice system. All of our proposals are backed up by solid evidence and research.

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