Irish Penal Reform Trust

Accountability

IPRT campaigns for the positive transformation of systems of accountability and governance of the penal system in the area of inspection, complaints and monitoring.

We believe that structures and practices which support better accountability in the penal system should be introduced. These structures and mechanisms include: a properly resourced independent prisoner complaints system such as the Ombudsman; the introduction of domestic legislation to achieve the ratification of OPCAT; the strengthening of the Office of Inspector of Prisons and reform of the Prison Visiting Committees; and the establishment of a fully independent Prisons Authority on a statutory basis.

IPRT continues to articulate and promote a deeper appreciation of the concept and benefits of accountability in the penal system among relevant stakeholders.

The Prison Ombudsman around the world

23rd May 2016

Ahead of ‘The Ombudsman Behind Bars’ conference held by the Office of the Ombudsman on the 12th May last, IPRT looked at the role of Prison Ombudsmen around the world.

Round-up: 'The Ombudsman Behind Bars'

13th May 2016

Speaking at 'The Ombudsman Behind Bars' conference, Inspector of Prisons recommended that the Office of the Ombudsman should be allowed to investigate individual prisoners complaints.

ADVISORY: Effective external oversight of prison system is crucial

28th November 2015

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT), Ireland’s leading penal reform organisation, held a major conference on the need for rigorous and effective external oversight of the Irish prison system on Fri 27 Nov 2015.

UK Report: Prisons and Probation Ombudsman

20th October 2015

IPRT has long campaigned for an independent Prisoner Ombudsman. In England and Wales, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) is appointed by and reports directly to the Secretary of State for Justice. Importantly, it remains operationally independent. The PPO has three main investigative duties: complaints made by prisoners; deaths of prisoners and using the PPO’s discretionary powers in the investigation of deaths of recently released prisoners or detainees. The PPO has recently published its 2014-15 Annual report and the report highlights some causes for concern within the UK prison system.

Recent Deaths in Custody reports by the Inspector of Prisons

13th October 2015

The Inspector of Prisons, Judge Michael Reilly has raised a number of concerns in his recently published Deaths in Custody reports. The reports, which examine the circumstances surrounding the deaths of individual prisoners, are at times seriously critical of the Irish Prison Service in relation to the level of care received by deceased prisoners. In some cases, the Inspector has commented that the “the Irish Prison Service failed in its duty of care to the deceased”

IPRT welcomes announcement of Review of Irish Prison Service

16th February 2015

MEDIA ADVISORY: The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) welcomes the announcement today (Monday, 16th February 2015) by the Inspector of Prisons, Judge Michael Reilly, of a wide-ranging review of the current culture and operations of the Irish Prison Service.

Failures in accountability structures in Irish prisons “extremely disturbing” – IPRT

9th October 2014

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) is gravely concerned that the Inspector of Prisons is unable to rely on the veracity of official prison records when investigating a death within prison walls.

Never again: Irish Prison Service must set and implement safe custody limits now to avoid potential future tragedies - IPRT

1st May 2014

IPRT MEDIA ADVISORY: Report of the Commission of Investigation into the death of Gary Douch.

Prison issues raised by UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders

4th March 2013

The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, has called on Ireland to establish an independent and effective mechanism to receive complaints from those in prison, such as an ombudsperson.

IPRT welcomes new laws strengthening internal Prisoner Complaints system, but need for independent complaints mechanism remains

22nd January 2013

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) strongly welcomes amendments to the Prison Rules 2007, and the recruitment of 22 external investigators, which together bring a level of independence to prisoner complaints systems in Ireland for the first time. However, this must be matched by similar reform of existing monitoring structures, and the establishment of a fully independent oversight mechanism.

Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.

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