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.
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.
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.
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.
1st April 2020
IPRT is curating useful resources and international guidance regarding COVID-19 and imprisonment here.
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.
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.
23rd March 2020
The statement calls on the criminal justice system to act quickly to stop the spread of COVID-19 within the prisons. While there have been some official responses to the potential dangers of COVID-19 within US prisons, this statement contains further recommendations on how to reduce the prison population and safeguard prisoners’ rights.