IPRT - Irish Penal Reform Trust

Join Donate

Get News Updates:

Solitary Confinement

On any given day in the Irish prison system, up to 80 prisoners are being held on 22- or 23-hour lock up for reasons of protection or other reasons, including discipline. IPRT is extremely concerned about the lengths of time that individual prisoners are held in conditions which amount to solitary confinement. 

IPRT acknowledges the difficult challenge for any prison service in balancing prisoner safety (respecting the right to life) on the one hand, while at the same time providing prisoners with a reasonable and humane regime (respecting rights such as the right to private and family life). However, when drawing this balance, it is IPRT’s position that the potential harm to prisoners’ mental health that can be caused by extended periods of isolation means that the practice of holding any category of prisoner on 23-hour lock up must only ever be a temporary measure; that this cannot be a solution in itself to prisoner safety concerns; and that robust safeguards must be in place in relation to the use of such regimes.

In 2016, IPRT secured funding from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to pursue an evidence-based research and awareness campaign towards the abolition of the use of solitary confinement in Ireland, and finding alternative solutions.

For the latest IPS Census of Restricted Regime Prisoners, click here.

Census of Restricted Regime Prisoners January 2017 31st January 2017

The Irish Prison Service Statistics Office has recently published its quarterly census of Restricted Regime Prisoners in the Irish prison system. Read more

US: 'Caged In', Solitary Confinement’s devastating harm on prisoners with physical disabilities 13th January 2017

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has published a report on the particular negative effects that solitary confinement poses to prisoners with physical disabilities. Read more

IPRT welcomes Dáil debate on prolonged solitary confinement 1st December 2016

A Private Member’s Bill introduced by Clare Daly TD, the Prisons (Solitary Confinement) (Amendment) Bill 2016 was debated in the Dáil on 1st December 2016. IPRT strongly welcomes the attention that is being paid to this serious issue. Read more

Northern Ireland: Report finds 'detrimental' approach to care of vulnerable men at Maghaberry 29th November 2016

On 23rd November 2016, a range of inspectorial bodies published their joint report on an announced 'low impact' inspection of Maghaberrry Prison in September. The report details serious concerns regarding the treatment of vulnerable men within the prison, with a significant reference to extended periods of isolated detention as 'solitary… Read more

Census of Restricted Regime Prisoners October 2016 28th October 2016

The Irish Prison Service Statistics Office has recently published its quarterly census of Restricted Regime Prisoners in the Irish prison system. The result of the October 2016 survey shows that the number of prisoners on restricted regimes has increased by 22 in the overall figure compared to July 2016. Read more

Round Up: Data Released on Solitary Confinement in Irish Prisons 24th October 2016

Read IPRT's latest comments in the media on data released on prolonged Solitary Confinement in Irish Prisons. Read more

Data Released on Solitary Confinement in Irish Prisons 24th October 2016

As of 1st January 2016, 51 people in Irish prisons were being held in solitary confinement for 22 hours a day, while 24 of these had been held in solitary confinement for more than 100 days, and 9 had been held for more than a year. Read more

USA: Department of Justice invests in initiative to reduce solitary confinement 26th September 2016

The Vera Institute today announced that it will be receiving a $2.2 million grant from the US Department of Justice to help reduce the use of solitary confinement in prisons across the USA. Read more

Census of Restricted Regime Prisoners July 2016 31st July 2016

The Irish Prison Service Statistics Office has recently published its quarterly census of Restricted Prisoners in the Irish prison system. The result of the July 2016 survey shows that the number of prisoners on restricted regimes has increased by 34 in the overall figure compared to April 2016. Read more

Census of Restricted Regime Prisoners April 2016 30th April 2016

The Irish Prison Service Statistics Office has recently published its quarterly census of Restricted Regime Prisoners in the Irish prison system. The result of the April 2016 survey shows that the number of prisoners on restricted regimes has increased by 29 in the overall figure compared to January 2016. Read more