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.

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

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

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