The COVID-19 crisis is an unprecedented national public health situation for our communities and all society. This includes the men and women currently detained in Irish prisons, the 3,300 people who work in our prisons, and the families of both prisoners and staff on the outside. Given the high number of older people (15% of sentenced prisoners), the higher prevalence of poor health among prison populations, and the existing burden on prison healthcare services, an outbreak of COVID-19 in our prisons would have devastating consequences for the prison community.
This is an evolving situation, but you will be able to find resources and international perspectives below, as well as statements from IPRT and updates on our work. IPRT's core submission on COVID-19 in Irish prisons, based on international evidence and standards, is available to read here.
If you have questions about the work being undertaken in Irish prisons to control the spread of COVID-19, visit the Irish Prison Service website. Work being undertaken to control the spread of COVID-19 in Oberstown is detailed here. If you have a family member in prison and are seeking support, there are services that can offer assistance here.
27th May 2020
This Children of Prisoners Europe (COPE) webinar featured a series of insightful presentations, subsequent questions and discussion about the challenges that the pandemic presents for prisons, and in particular for prisoners and their families.
21st May 2020
IPRT Executive Director Fíona Ní Chinnéide presented at an International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO) webinar on the impacts of COVID-19 in prisons in Ireland.
18th May 2020
Custody is a damaging environment for children in normal times, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, conditions in custody have worsened for imprisoned children. The Howard League has produced guidance for legal practitioners on how to keep unsentenced children out of pre-trial detention.
13th May 2020
UN agencies have issued a joint statement on COVID-19 in closed settings to draw attention to the increased vulnerability of those deprived of their liberty. The human rights-led statement focuses on strategies which are crucial to protecting those in places of detention from COVID-19.
8th May 2020
Minister Flanagan has launched a new service allowing families to lodge money for their relative in prison at any Post Office counter in the country.
5th May 2020
HM Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland has now developed an adapted methodology to inspection and monitoring, resulting in a Remote Monitoring Framework and Liaison Visits Framework, which will allow for the continued safe visitation to prisons and other settings, ensuring human rights are upheld.
30th April 2020
In this submission, IPRT sets out a number of proposed measures to be taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to minimise its impact on the whole prison community.
29th April 2020
On 29th April 2020, IPRT co-hosted an international online seminar on ‘Human Rights & Detention in the time of COVID-19: UK and Ireland’.
22nd April 2020
The Network on External Prison Oversight and Human Rights has published a special issue newsletter focusing on prison oversight and monitoring during COVID-19. Experts in oversight and monitoring in places of deprivation of liberty have contributed to the issue, to share updates on how oversight roles are shifting during this pandemic.
15th April 2020
ADVISORY: Efforts to reduce the prison population must be ramped up in order to uphold minimum human rights standards of those in custody and protect the wider prison community from COVID-19.