Dear Members and Supporters,
It has been a year – one whole year! – since ‘The Old Triangle’ celebration of music and words took place in the Abbey Theatre, an event which aimed to raise awareness of the need for penal reform.
Many of the musicians, poets, and artists who took part in this celebration have worked in prisons, and the important role that the arts and artists have to play in the life of our prisons was centre-stage on the evening. President Higgins attended the event as our special guest of honour.
Relive the experience:
Although nothing can adequately capture the spirit of generosity and warmth on the evening itself, here are some images and a clip to jog the memories!
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came along on the evening, to the artists who gave their time and talents for free, and to most especially to the wonderful Paula Meehan (a Patron of IPRT) and Theo Dorgan for concept, design and execution – thank you so much!
What has happened since then:
Although everyone needed a lie down after the months of preparation and excitement, we were straight into a very busy year for IPRT and for penal reform developments generally. You can read about our news and developments here but we would like to highlight three key IPRT publications from 2012:
- Information Project: ‘Know Your Rights – Your Rights as a Prisoner’, in association with the ICCL (booklet, audio, translations)
- Position Paper: The Vicious Circle of Social Exclusion and Crime: Ireland’s Disproportionate Punishment of the Poor
- Research Report: "Picking Up the Pieces": The Rights and Needs of Children and Families Affected by Imprisonment
After a long period of depressing penal expansion and a general regression in the regime and conditions for prisoners, we hope that 2012 may have marked a turning point for the Irish penal system. We believe IPRT’s advocacy work – rational proposals based on solid evidence – played a significant role in these developments during 2012:
- End of the detention of boys aged 16 in St Patrick’s Institution, with a commitment to end the detention of 17 year old boys by 2014.
- The Ombudsman for Children can now receive individual complaints from boys detained in St Patrick’s Institution (in force from 1st July 2012, this applies retrospectively for 2 years).
- The Inspector of Prisons was tasked with conducting investigations on all deaths in prison, and – significantly – those recently released from prison.
- The Irish prison Service 3 Year Strategy included commitments to reducing prisoner numbers; to renovate older prisons; and to end slopping out.
- The Spent Convictions Bill was published and debated during 2012.
- And a new Prisoner Complaints Mechanism came into force in November 2012, with a panel of 22 external investigators recruited to deal with the most serious complaints.
None of this would have been possible without our supporters, be they funders, donors, members or advocates for penal reform – for this we thank you!
To continue, we need your help
IPRT is not in receipt of any public funds; this contributes to guaranteeing the independence of our voice, which is essential to the integrity of our work. However, with increased pressure on our funding sources, it is a continuing struggle to maintain our current level of activity.
We would be very grateful if you would consider supporting us by becoming a member or making a small donation. All membership and donations directly fund the activities which are successfully contributing to radical penal reform.
There many other ways in which you can support our work, including following us on Facebook and Twitter. You can find out more about other ways to get involved here: http://www.iprt.ie/what-you-can-do
Thank you for your support!
Irish Penal Reform Trust