IPRT - Irish Penal Reform Trust

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The Irish Examiner: Feud link to rise in prison protection

1st February 2017

An article by Cormac O'Keeffe in today's Irish Examiner, Feud link to rise in prison protection, reports that the Irish Prison Service (IPS) recently released figures showing that the number of prisoners on 22/23 hour lock-up in Mountjoy jumped eightfold, from six last October to 47 last month. According to the article, prison sources believe that a feud is behind much of that rise.

The quarterly IPS Census of Restricted Regime Prisoners for January 2017 shows that the number of prisoners on restricted regimes has increased by 4 in the overall figure compared to October 2016. Figures show that there has been an increase from 424 (October 2016) to 428 (January 2017).

The Irish Penal Reform Trust is quoted in the article as saying that 22/23-hour lock-up is a short-term solution with “long term negative consequences”.

Acting Executive Director Fíona Ní Chinnéide added: “The damaging effects on prisoner mental health have been found to be irreversible after just two weeks in solitary confinement.

“Yet Ireland continues to hold men on 22- and 23-hour lock-up sometimes for more than a year. This practice makes prisons less safe, and will inevitably impact on reintegration post-release.”

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