IPRT - Irish Penal Reform Trust

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UNCAT: Prisons Under the UN spotlight

6th July 2017

There has been much progress since Ireland’s first examination in 2011, when the UN Committee Against Torture expressed “deep concern” at the levels of overcrowding in the prison system, called for urgent action to end slopping out, and said it was “gravely concerned” at the ongoing detention of children in St Patrick's Institution. However, IPRT will be bringing a number of serious concerns to the attention of the Committee in Geneva, including:

  • Numbers of prisoners held in isolation for prolonged periods;
  • Detention of people with serious mental health issues in prison;
  • Persistent overcrowding in a number of prisons;
  • Failure to achieve separation of remand and sentenced prisoners;
  • Lack of published prison inspection reports since autumn 2014;
  • Failure to ratify the important torture prevention tool, the OPCAT (Optional Protocol to the UNCAT) and establish a National Preventative Mechanism.

IPRT participated in the Department of Justice and Equality’s consultation process ahead of Ireland’s examination, and our submission to UNCAT will be available on our website in advance of the hearing. In addition, IPRT will also be running a public awareness campaign towards ratification of OPCAT. Watch this space!