IPRT - Irish Penal Reform Trust

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Women in Detention

Women make up a very small proportion of those who appear before the courts on criminal charges in Ireland and of those who are imprisoned. On average, women make up around 3.8% of the prison population, with a large number of committals concerning non-violent offences. Additionally, the majority are detained on short-term sentences. However, the impact of even short-term imprisonment on these women and their families is profound. The economic and social costs to society at large arising from the imprisonment of women are also significant.

Moreover, while overall prison numbers have stabilised in recent years, the numbers of women committed to prison have continued to accelerate, including significant numbers imprisoned for failing to pay court-ordered fines. In 2015, 89.9% of female sentenced committals to prison in Ireland were for failure to pay court-ordered fines.

Major concerns remain in relation to overcrowding in the Dóchas Centre and the inadequate conditions of women prisoners in Limerick Prison, and also in relation to immigration detention. IPRT remains committed to working towards major policy change in relation to imprisonment of women in Ireland, with a central focus on the provision of alternatives to detention.

Irish Independent: Inside a Women's Prison 14th May 2017

Article on imprisonment of women in Ireland by Cathal McMahon. Read more

Department of Justice and Equality publishes National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020 3rd May 2017

IPRT welcomes the publication of the government's National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020 on 3rd May 2017. Read more

England: Women in Prison Report 'Corston +10' 4th April 2017

Women in Prison have produced a new report, ‘Corston +10’ on the tenth anniversary of the publication of the original ‘Corston Report'. Read more

UK: 'PPO’s learning lessons bulletin: self-inflicted deaths among female prisoners’ 28th March 2017

UK Prisons and Probation Ombudsman Nigel Newcomen has highlighted a “lack of concerted and sustained action” following a rise in the number of suicides among female prisoners. Read more

UK, Prison Reform Trust: ‘Fair Cop? Improving outcomes for women at the point of arrest’ 17th March 2017

Discussion paper by Dr. Thomas Guiney and Jenny Earle that provides solutions, and examples of positive initiatives being delivered by police forces to tackle low level, non-violent crime committed by women, in the UK. Read more

Ireland’s unequal treatment of women in the criminal justice system raised with the U.N. by IPRT 14th February 2017

ADVISORY: IPRT has raised Ireland's unequal treatment of women within the criminal justice system with U.N. CEDAW. Read more

IPRT Submission in Advance of the Examination of Ireland’s combined sixth and seventh periodic reports under CEDAW 13th February 2017

IPRT made a submission in advance of the examination of Ireland’s combined sixth and seventh periodic reports under CEDAW in January 2017. Read more

Norway: ‘Women in Prison: A Thematic Report about the conditions for female prisoners in Norway’ 20th January 2017

'Women in Prison' is the first thematic report published by the Norwegian Parliamentary Ombudsman under its UN mandate as the national preventive mechanism against torture and ill-treatment. Read more

UK: Report on the relationship between female offending and homelessness 28th September 2016

A report published by the Prison Reform Trust and Women in Prison states that upon release six out of ten women do not have homes to go to. Read more

England and Wales: Restorative Justice for Women in the Criminal Justice System 8th April 2016

A new research report by the Restorative Justice Council makes a series of recommendations for both practitioners and policy-makers on how to improve access to, and the experience of, restorative justice for females who have offended. Read more