IPRT - Irish Penal Reform Trust

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IPRT Position Paper 4: Human Rights in Prison

20th September 2009

PP Human Rights in Prison

Under international human rights treaties ratified by the Irish Government and approved by the Oireachtas, Ireland has accepted a body of legal obligations conferring rights on all persons resident in the State. Many of these rights have particular relevance to the situation of persons in detention and impose obligations in relation to conditions and regimes in the prisons and basic minimum standards of care for all prisoners.

In its work, IPRT is committed to ensuring that the rights of prisoners are respected and that Irish penal policy is based on the implementation of these obligations. In line with the principle of safe custody, meeting human rights standards must be taken as a base-line below which the situation in Irish prisons should not be allowed to fall.

This Position Paper outlines the main human rights standards pertaining to the situation of individuals in prison and provides examples of how they are interpreted by international monitoring bodies. This interpretation impacts on the practice and policy in Irish prisons and IPRT believes that it should therefore be carefully considered by the State authorities responsible for the development of such policy and those responsible for the day-to-day operation of prisons in Ireland. To this end, IPRT calls for information about international human rights standards to be made widely available to courts and Prison Service staff, as well as prisoners in Ireland.

To download the Position Paper, please click on the icon above.