IPRT - Irish Penal Reform Trust

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Ebulletin #72

9th July 2013

In this edition:

1. Introduction
2. IPRT Membership: We need YOU!
3. IPRT Annual Lecture 2013: Solitary Confinement
4. IPRT AGM 2013
5. Prison Law Seminar: Civil Litigation by Prisoners
6. Breaking the Record - event report
7. Recent Developments
8. IPRT in the News
9. IPRT Recruitment: Internship Programme
10. Upcoming Events
11. Contact

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Introduction

IPRT news and events for summer 2013!

IPRT is delighted to announce that Dr. Sharon Shalev will deliver the 2013 IPRT Annual Lecture on 23rd July on the topic of: "Solitary confinement: necessity, convenience or inhumanity?" IPRT has invited Dr Shalev to Dublin to draw attention to serious rights issues and concerns surrounding the detention of prisoners in Ireland on restricted regimes, including 23-hour lock up, for significant periods of time. The IPRT Annual Lecture is sponsored by KOD Lyons.

Our Annual General Meeting for 2013 will precede the lecture. All members are encouraged to come along to the AGM for a full update on the activities of the year past and the year to come. At the AGM, we will also be sharing the findings of an external evaluation of the work of IPRT carried out in March this year. Full details will be circulated to all IPRT members shortly.

Everyone is welcome to attend the IPRT Annual Lecture; the AGM is a member-only event.

The next in our series of Prison Law Seminars, co-hosted with the ICBA, takes place on 16th July 2013 from 5-7pm. Focusing on the topic 'Civil Litigation by Prisoners', this free seminar qualifies as CPD (1.5 hours).

We are delighted to welcome Liza Costello, who will be working with IPRT as Research & Policy Officer (maternity leave cover) until November 2013. Liza started with IPRT on Monday 1st July 2013, and can be reached at: research@iprt.ie

Sinéad Mercier, who worked with us on an internship from the start of February, finished at the end of June. Many thanks to Sinéad for bringing her many talents and acumen to her work over the past 5 months. Tríona Lenihan will continue to intern with IPRT until end August 2013.

Finally, we would like to congratulate IPRT Research & Policy Officer Jane Mulcahy and husband Keith on the safe arrival of Luke, a little brother to Aurora, at the beginning of June!

As ever, we welcome your feedback and suggestions - if you would like to share your thoughts, please get in touch.

~ We need YOU ~

Be part of something effective

If you value the contribution IPRT has made over recent years, and believe our work should continue into the future, please consider showing your support by becoming a member or making a donation.

You can find out more about what we have achieved and how we have achieved it here.

There are many other ways that you can become involved in the movement for progressive penal reform in Ireland. Find out here.

IPRT Annual Lecture 2013

"Solitary confinement: necessity, convenience or inhumanity?"

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) is delighted to announce that our 2013 Annual Lecture will be delivered by Dr. Sharon Shalev on the topic of: "Solitary confinement: necessity, convenience or inhumanity?"

We are also delighted that Judge Gerard Hogan of the Irish High Court will chair the event, and leading social justice campaigner Fr. Peter McVerry will respond to the lecture, reflecting on his experience in seeing the effects of prolonged isolation on prisoners within Irish prisons.

IPRT has invited Dr Shalev to Dublin in order to draw attention to serious rights issues and concerns surrounding the detention of prisoners in Ireland on restricted regimes, including 23 hour lock up, for significant periods of time.

IPRT is very grateful to KOD Lyons for their sponsorship of the 2013 Annual Lecture.

  • Date/Time: Tues 23rd July 2013, 6pm
  • Location: King's Inns, Henrietta Street, Dublin 1

A wine reception will follow the event, kindly sponsored by the Bar Council. To register for this free event, contact Mary at 01-8741400 or email info@iprt.ie or sign up online.
 
Read More:
For full details about the event, including biographies of speakers, visit: http://www.iprt.ie/contents/2524

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IPRT Annual General Meeting 2013

The IPRT Annual General Meeting for 2013 will take place at 3.30pm on Tues 23rd July 2013 in the King's Inns, Henrietta Street, Dublin 1. All members are encouraged to come along to the AGM for a full update on the activities of the year past and the year to come. At the AGM, we will also be sharing the findings of an external evaluation of the work of IPRT carried out in March this year. Full details have been circulated to all IPRT members.

If you are a member of IPRT and you have not received the information, please contact Mary Gaffney at 01-8741400 or info@iprt.ie

Did you know that IPRT is governed by a voluntary board made up of 12 experts? Find out who's who in IPRT here.

Prison Law Seminar: Civil Litigation by Prisoners

IPRT, in conjunction with the Irish Criminal Bar Association (ICBA), are delighted to invite you to an upcoming Prison Law Seminar on the topic of Civil Litigation by Prisoners. This seminar takes place from 5-7pm on Tuesday, 16th July 2013 at the Courts of Criminal Justice Seminar Room.

Judge Gerard Hogan of the Irish High Court will chair the event, and speakers will include: William Binchy BL who will speak about prisoners and the law of tort; Patrick Keane SC who will discuss the recent case of Creighton v Ireland and Ors; John Ward BL who will address procedural issues in relation to the Prison Rules 2007; and Liam Herrick, Executive Director of IPRT, who will speak about resources for use in prison litigation and will introduce IPRT's Discussion Document on Pre-Trial Detention. 

The seminar qualifies for Continuing Professional Development (1.5 hours) for both solicitors and barristers.

Registrations: To register for the ICBA/IPRT Prison Law Seminar, or for more information, please contact Mary Gaffney at tel: 01-8741400 or email: info@iprt.ie

Breaking the Record - Moving On?

It was a full house for the IPRT information seminar on Spent Convictions and Garda Vetting, which took place on 12th June 2013 in Dublin. Focussing on two important and related legislative developments - the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill 2012 and the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 - the seminar teased out outstanding legal issues with regard to both pieces of legislation. A vigorous Q&A session following the presentations highlighted a number of ongoing issues for former offenders and their families.

For presentations and a brief report of the event, see here.

See also a legal analysis on issues arising by Remy Farrell SC, published in The Irish Times on Monday 8th July 2013.

Recent Developments

1. Closure of St Patrick's Instn. announced on publication of two reports by the Inspector of Prisons

On 3rd July 2013, the Minister for Justice published the Inspector of Prisons' Annual Report for 2012 and An Assessment of the Irish Prison System. On publication of the reports, the Minister announced that St Patrick's Institution will be closed within six months, and the 17-21 year-old prisoners transferred to Wheatfield Prison. While welcoming the move, a number of concerns were raised by IPRT and the Ombudsman for children, among others. More details about reactions here.

2. INSIDE-OUT Peer Support Network

On 27th June 2013, IPS announced that it has joined the GLEN (Gay and Lesbian Equality Network) Diversity Champions Programme and launched the INSIDE-OUT Peer Support Network. No one should be discriminated against because of who they are. IPRT welcomes this as a very important step towards recognising diversity in the prison system. For more information, click here

3. High Court establishes duty of care for prisoners

Peter Creighton, a former prisoner in Wheatfield Prison was awarded €150,000 compensation in the High Court on 14th June 2013 following an attack in 2003. Mr. Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill ruled that prison authorities had failed in their duty by allowing in excess of 15 prisoners to congregate in the medical room and by failing to erect netting around the perimeter yard of the prison to prevent items being thrown in from outside. Gerry Burns, solicitor for Mr. Creighton, told The Irish Times that this would be the first case where a court has held that prison authorities have a duty of care to prisoners. 

4. Report on Recidivism Rates in Ireland

On 30th May 2013, the Irish Prison Service, in partnership with the Central Statistics Office, published a report on recidivism rates among ex-prisoners in Ireland. Until now, only information related to re-imprisonment rates has been collated, but this report for the first time provides information on recidivism where the new offence does not necessarily lead to a period of imprisonment. It found the overall recidivism rate of offenders within three years to be 62.3%. Read the full report here

IPRT in the News

We play a leading, uniquely independent role in public debate around the issue of penal reform and prison as a sanction of last resort. 

  • Concerns raised by Ombudsman for Children, Emily Logan, regarding delays in transferring children from St. Patrick's Institution to the children detention centre at Oberstown were reported in The Irish Examiner and RTÉ News. IMPACT spokesperson Catherine Keogh and Executive Director of IPRT Liam Herrick spoke to RTÉ's 'This Week'
  • The Irish Examiner and The Cork News reported on plans for the building of a replacement prison in Cork. IPRT has welcomed moves to address the current unfit and inhumane conditions in Cork Prison but is concerned at the increased capacity of the proposed new prison, which amounts to penal expansion, as well as plans for the doubling up of cells.
  • The Irish Times and The Journal reacted to further delays in the report on the killing of Gary Douch in Mountjoy Prison in August 2006. IPRT's Executive Director, Liam Herrick, spoke to RTÉ News.
  • Following the announcement by the Minister for Justice that St Patrick's Instn is to be closed within six months, IPRT comment was included across the media, including RTÉ 'Drivetime', Today FM 'The Last word' and TV3 'the Morning Show'. For full details and links, click here.

IPRT is recruiting: Internship Programme

We are now seeking two interns to work as part of the IPRT Team from Sept 2013 until end Jan 2014! Interns work as an integral part of the IPRT team, supporting our research and policy as well as communications and campaigns activities. Internships with IPRT are offered on a 5-month basis, working 14-21 hours a week. Full details available here: IPRT Internship policy and guidelines

Application Process

The application form is available here: IPRT Internship Application Form The deadline for applications is Friday 26th July, 2013 @ 5pm. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview in early August. Interview by telephone can be facilitated where the shortlisted candidate is unable to attend in person.

Completed application forms should be sent, along with a recent CV, to Mary Gaffney at info@iprt.ie

For more information, please contact Mary Gaffney, IPRT Office Manager at: info@iprt.ie or visit: www.iprt.ie/internships

Upcoming events

  • 16 July 2013: IPRT/ICBA Prison Law Seminar: Civil Litigation by Prisoners - full details available here
  • 23 July 2013: IPRT AGM and Annual Lecture 2013 - full details available here.
  • 20-21 November 2013: Restorative Connections: Developing a Roadmap across Ireland - this conference, hosted by the Restorative Justice Forum (NI), in conjunction with the Justice, Education, Voluntary and Community sectors in the South, will be held in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dundalk. 

Become a Member

Would you like to become a member of IPRT?

Annual membership is just €10 for students, €40 for individuals, €80 for organisations/firms, and free to prisoners and their families. We can’t promise you lots of free stuff, but by becoming a member of IPRT you will be expressing your support for urgent penal reform in Ireland.

Why not consider becoming an IPRT member now?