• Print
  • Email author
  • Bookmark and Share

Ebulletin #49

27th May 2009


In this IPRT e-bulletin:

  1. Introduction
  2. New website for IPRT
  3. IPRT AGM 2009
  4. ‘Re-imagining the Role of Prison in Irish Society’ – an Open Forum
  5. IPRT in the News
  6. Upcoming Events

1. Introduction

Dear friends and colleagues,

The recent announcement by Government that plans for the super-prison at Thornton Hall are to be reviewed, coupled with the commencement of the process to develop a White Paper on Crime, represents a landmark moment for all of us interested in the long-term future of the Irish prison system. IPRT has consistently questioned the wisdom of the Thornton Hall project and we now believe there is a real opportunity to rethink the wider questions of the size of prison population we want to have and how we might plan for a modern penal policy for this society into the future.

With this in mind, the Irish Penal Reform Trust will host an Open Forum entitled ‘Re-imagining the Role of Prison in Irish Society’ on Thursday 18th June. We are delighted to announce that Professor Fergus McNeill of the University of Glasgow and Professor Andrew Coyle of Kings College London will address the Forum, which we hope will stimulate a vibrant and constructive debate about the future direction of penal policy in Ireland.

For our members, our 2009 Annual General Meeting also takes place before the Open Forum on 18th June, and we look forward to the opportunity to inform our members about the many exciting developments that have taken place within the organisation in the past year.

A further important development is the re-launch of the IPRT website at http://www.iprt.ie/, which we hope will prove to be an invaluable resource for everyone with an interest in our work and issues of penal reform in Ireland.

I look forward to meeting you all on 18th June, 2009.

Liam Herrick
Executive Director 

Irish Penal Reform Trust
4th Floor, Equity House,
16-17 Ormond Quay,
Dublin 7, IRELAND

Tel: +353-(0)1-874-1400

2. New website for IPRT

IPRT has a brand new look in cyberspace!

Our new look is more than just a cosmetic face-lift: we have re-organised our information to highlight key penal reform issues, along with the latest news and events, whilst presenting more information on IPRT and its activities. And we think it looks pretty sharp too.

New features include:

  • the “Director's Blog” which will see Executive Director Liam Herrick respond to newsworthy events as they happen
  • a “Prison Facts” ticker on the home-page, highlighting clear statements of fact that demonstrate why penal reform is necessary and urgent
  • a comprehensive “Library” section providing access to all IPRT publications, along with relevant reports by other organisations and agencies
  • a searchable archive with increased search functions
  • new subscription forms so that you can become a member and register to attend IPRT events online – including the Open Forum ‘Re-imagining the Role of Prison in Irish Society’ on 18th June 2009 (more details below)
  • new “Media Centre” and “Campaigns” sections to keep you informed on what we are up to and how you can help

Other exciting new functions include youtube videos, comment boxes, and multiple ways to spread the word about penal reform. You can also subscribe to our RSS Feeds and email updates to stay up to date with what's happening.

See for yourself at www.iprt.ie

Any questions, comments and suggestions are very welcome. Please contact Fíona at: communications@iprt.ie 


3. IPRT AGM 2009

The Annual General Meeting of IPRT will take place on 18th June 2009, from 4-5pm, at the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin 2.

The contribution of our Members to our AGM is critical to our work and we are looking forward to informing you about the major changes in the organisation within the past year, which have signalled a new phase in the development of the Trust's work. With the financial support of Atlantic Philanthropies and Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, we have set ourselves ambitious goals, and with the recent appointment of three new staff members, we aim to achieve these goals as part of our Strategic Plan 2008 - 2010.

An Open Forum entitled 'Re-imagining the Role of Prison in Irish Society' will follow the AGM. Please see below for more details.

IPRT relies on the support of its members to carry out its work. For more information about becoming a member of IPRT, please see the membership page of the website.


4. ‘Re-imagining the Role of Prison in Irish Society’- an Open Forum

The announcement by the Irish Government of its plans to bring forward a White Paper on Crime and the recent decision to review plans for a new prison at Thornton Hall presents an opportunity to re-imagine the direction of prison policy in Ireland. This Open Forum will provide for an inclusive public debate on the current criminal justice system, shifting the focus away from building bigger prisons and towards crime prevention, the proper use of imprisonment, and the appropriate use of alternatives to custody.

IPRT believes that we are now at a crossroads in our prison policy and calls for all interested parties to contribute to this debate.

With this in mind, IPRT will host an Open Forum entitled ‘Re-imagining the Role of Prison in Irish Society’ on Thursday 18th June, 2009 at 5.15pm in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin Castle, Dublin 2. Speakers will include Professor Andrew Coyle and Professor Fergus McNeill.

To register for this free event, please email: info@iprt.ie Alternatively, register online at: www.iprt.ie/upcoming-events

Please note that places are strictly limited so early registration is advised.

We look forward to seeing you there.


5. IPRT in the News

On April 22nd, Liam Herrick, Executive Director of IPRT, spoke to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland on mental health care of offenders in prison, following the conviction of Stephen Egan for the manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility of Gary Douche in August 2006. The Gary Douche inquiry was further reported on in the Irish Times and the Irish Examiner on April 23rd.

The treatment of sex offenders made the front-page headlines in the Irish Examiner on April 23rd.

On April 24th, Liam appeared on RTÉ’s ‘The Late, Late Show’ to discuss the sentencing and rehabilitation of prisoners.

Liam spoke to 4FM’s ‘Kiberd on 4’ on the issue of imprisonment for debt (May 14th); and he spoke to 4FM’s Tom McGurk on the proposed Spent Convictions Bill (May 15th). (Copies of these interviews are available from IPRT).

News of the collapse of talks with the consortium on building Thornton Hall broke on May 19th. Liam spoke to RTÉ’s ‘Nine News’ on the opportunity this presents policy-makers. IPRT was invited to further comment on this story in the Irish Times and on 4FM’s ‘Kiberd on 4’ on 20th May; the related issues of overcrowding were reported on in the Irish Examiner of May 21st.

For more details, please contact Fíona Ní Chinnéide, IPRT Campaigns & Communications Officer.


6. Upcoming Events

June 5th and 25th Sept: the British Society of Criminology YCYJN is convening two one-day conferences at the University of Liverpool: ‘Youth Justice and the Policy Process: Messages from Research and Practice’ (Friday 5th June 2009) and ‘International Youth Justice’ (Friday 25th September 2009), at which Chair of the IPRT Board, Dr Ursula Kilkelly, will speak. A brochure containing further details, a listing of speakers and booking forms can be downloaded from: http://www.britsoccrim.org/youthjustice.htm and/or http://www.liv.ac.uk/ssp/Youthjusticeconferences.htm

On June 15th and 16th, the fifth North South Criminology Conference will be hosted by the UCD Institute of Criminology. IPRT Board member Dr Mary Rogan will speak on ‘How is penal policy made in Ireland? Yes (or no) Minister’ at the event.

The Community Platform is organising a national conference ‘Taking Our Own Authority: Developing a vision for an inclusive, equal and sustainable Ireland' on June 19th. For more details, please contact: annecostello@cwc.ie

The British Society of Criminology Annual Conference takes place at Cardiff University from 29th June to 1st July. Dr Mary Rogan will address the conference on “Prison Policy in Ireland 1922 – 1972: Subversion, Stagnation and Social Change”.

The University of Utrecht ‘Summer School on Juvenile Justice’ takes place from July 17th to 27th, 2009.

On September 25th, the Department of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork will host a conference entitled ‘Boom to Bust: Irish Social Policy in Challenging Times’. A call for papers has been issued, with a deadline of June 26th to: socialpolicyconf@ucc.ie

All articles are copyright 2009 Irish Penal Reform Trust, unless otherwise noted.

viewed here