Under US legislation, a human rights report must be completed and presented to the Congress of the Department of State for every country under the UN each year. The report on Ireland has now been released. It highlights human rights abuses, legal and court procedures, arrest and detention procedures, relevant human rights court decisions, civil liberties, protection of refugees, political rights and the rights of women, children and disabled persons.
The first section of this report entitled 'Respect for Human Rights' includes information on prisons including:
- Irish prisons were generally in line with international human rights standards, however there was evidence that mentally ill prisoners were held in inappropriate cells for their condition,
- most prisons were operating at 95% of their capacity, with many operating at100%,
- vulnerable prisoners at risk of self-harm and suicide were placed in safety observation cells for weeks at a time because there was no high-support unit at Mountjoy Prison, according to a report by the Mental Health Commission,
- remand and sentenced prisoners were held together,
- 'at risk' prisoners were held in special observation cells in Mountjoy because there is no high-support unit in the prison.
The report also mentions how accusations of inhumane or degrading treatment were investigated (however it does not say whether anything was done to prevent it in the future) and are publicly available.