Solitary Confinement

Since the commencement of the IPS Census of Restricted Regime Prisoners in July 2013, the number of prisoners on 22/23 hour restricted regime has decreased dramatically. However, IPRT is concerned about the length of time that individual prisoners are held in conditions which amount to solitary confinement. 

Considering the decrease in the number of people on restricted regimes in recent years, we believe that it is an achievable goal for solitary confinement to be abolished in Ireland.

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 22+ hour lock-up must only ever be an exceptional 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. 'Behind the Door': Solitary Confinement in the Irish Penal System was published in February 2018.

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

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

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

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

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

Solitary Confinement: what is it and what are its effects? 28th April 2016

The Guardian newspaper, in their series on solitary confinement, describe what it is; what the conditions are like; what its effects are; and provide an online virtual reality experience of life in solitary confinement so you can replicate the experience for yourself. Read more

Census of Restricted Regime Prisoners January 2016 31st January 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 3 in the overall figure compared to January 2016. Read more

EUROPEAN TORTURE COMMITTEE: CONCERNS ON MENTAL HEALTH, VIOLENCE AND SOLITARY CONFINEMENT IN IRISH PRISONS 17th November 2015

The sixth report on places of detention in Ireland from the CPT, published today (Tuesday 17th November 2015) presents another indictment of a prison system that is struggling to meet its duty of care in terms of healthcare, mental health care, and ensuring prisoner safety. Read more

Census of Restricted Regime Prisoners October 2015 31st October 2015

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 2015 survey shows that the number of prisoners on restricted regimes decreased by 10 in the overall figure compared to July 2015. Read more

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