Irish Penal Reform Trust

COVID-19 in Prisons

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.

HM Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland Remote Monitoring Framework

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.

Irish prisons and COVID-19: Proposed Measures

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.

Human Rights and Detention in the time of COVID-19: UK and Ireland

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’.

Adapting to COVID-19: Prison Oversight and Monitoring During a Pandemic

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.

Accelerated action must be taken to reduce prisoner numbers in order to uphold minimum human rights and keep people safe – IPRT

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.

IPRT and COVID-19 in Irish prisons

7th April 2020

We're working hard, alongside other stakeholders, to minimise the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the prison community. In this post, we detail some of our actions and engagements from recent weeks.

Expert Report: COVID-19 and prisons in England and Wales

3rd April 2020

This Expert Report was written by Professor Richard Coker and commissioned by the Howard League for Penal Reform and the Prison Reform Trust. It sets out the most up-to-date evidence concerning the nature, spread and transmission of COVID-19 as it applies to prisons.

Prisons and COVID-19: resources

1st April 2020

IPRT is curating useful resources and international guidance regarding COVID-19 and imprisonment here.

Human Rights Law Centre (Australia): Stopping Solitary Confinement

31st March 2020

The Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) in Australia has published 'Stopping Solitary Confinement', a submission to the Royal Commission into Violence, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. The HRLC writes specifically about the use of solitary confinement during COVID-19.

Irish Prisons and COVID-19: updates

27th March 2020

The Irish Prison Service has published information on its response to the Coronavirus COVID-19 risk on its website, including the suspension of family visits.

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

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