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.

Time for change? Women and mothers in the Irish prison system 13th July 2018

Newstalk's Simon Tierney reports from the Dóchas Centre on the issues facing women and mothers in prison in Ireland. Read more

UK: Prison Reform Trust publishes ‘What about me?’ 9th July 2018

‘What about me?’ is essential research conducted by the Prison Reform Trust, detailing the impact on children when mothers are involved in the criminal justice system. Read more

UK: Report on Housing for Women in the Criminal Justice System 19th June 2018

The Prison Reform Trust (PRT) and Women in Prison (WiP) have published a report entitled ‘Home truths: housing for women in the criminal justice system'. Read more

UK: Still Dying on the Inside: Examining Deaths in Women's Prisons 8th May 2018

UK charity INQUEST published their report into deaths in women's prisons on the 1st May 2018. Read more

UK: Domestic Abuse as a driver to women's offending 4th December 2017

Prison Reform Trust (2017) “There’s a reason we’re in trouble” Domestic abuse as a driver to women’s offending. Read more

World Female Imprisonment List 2017 9th November 2017

The Institute for Criminal Research published the fourth edition of the World Female Imprisonment List, providing a comprehensive report on the number of women and girls in penal institutions worldwide. Read more

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

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