Irish Penal Reform Trust

Human Rights in Prison

IPRT promotes a penal system that is: humane as experienced by people who are detained, protects and promotes human rights and equality, and strives to achieve international best practice in formal regimes, daily practices and overall culture.

It is the sentence of deprivation of liberty in itself that is the core punitive sanction, the conditions and treatment while in prison should not be used as additional punishment.

Accordingly, we believe that while restrictions on the freedom of movement are necessarily introduced while in prison, prisoners should retain all other rights to the greatest possible degree while serving their sentences. In particular, IPRT believes that prisoners have the right to be treated with dignity and respect for their rights; they have the right to safety and security of the person, the right to be treated humanely and be free from torture, degrading or inhuman treatment or punishment.

We work to ensure that regimes in prisons and children detention facilities are humane, and reflect human rights standards as a minimum in the short term, striving for international best practice in the medium to long term.

IPRT Submission to LoIPR process on Ireland's Fifth Periodic Examination under the ICCPR

2nd October 2020

This submisison to the Human Rights Committee on Ireland's Fifth Periodic Examination under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is part of the suggested List of Issues (LoIPR) process, pinpointing key areas where the Committee might seek to question the State.

Joint Committee on Human Rights: Government’s response to COVID-19

21st September 2020

Joint Committee on Human Rights today published the report of their enquiry into the human rights implications of the UK Government’s response to COVID-19.

Independence of prison inspections must be supported in legislation and resourcing – IPRT

15th September 2020

MEDIA ADVISORY: The Irish Penal Reform Trust has welcomed the launch of ‘Inspection Framework for Prisons in Ireland’ by the Minister for Justice Ms Helen McEntee TD, but called for increased resourcing of the Office of the Inspector of Prisons, and for laws that allow the Inspector of Prisons to publish reports directly and not through the Minister for Justice.

Irish Examiner reports on unpublished prison chaplain reports

8th September 2020

The Irish Examiner has today reported on an unpublished prison chaplain report on Dóchas Centre for 2019, which is reported to find that that women in the Dóchas Centre are subject to chronic overcrowding, decreasing out-of-cell time, xenophobic abuse, and find it "next to impossible" for the women to book family visits, including with their children.

Failure to transfer terminally-ill prisoner urgently to hospital may have amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment – IPRT

14th August 2020

MEDIA ADVISORY: IPRT is gravely concerned at the delay experienced by a terminally-ill prisoner, who subsequently died, in accessing urgent emergency medical care. The failure to bring the man, who was in severe pain, urgently from Midlands Prison to hospital in June 2018 is described as a “major failing” by the Inspector of Prisons in a report (published Wednesday 12th August 2020).

Findings on ‘cocooning’ in prisons must be acted on now to protect mental health and dignity of men and women in prison – IPRT

29th July 2020

MEDIA ADVISORY: A briefing detailing the experiences of people cocooning in Irish prisons published today (29.07.2020) by the Office of the Inspector of Prisons demonstrates the need for enhanced prison oversight and the longer-term ineffectiveness of COVID-19 responses that rely on prolonged confinement in prisons.

UN Committee against Torture publishes list of issues prior to reporting

25th May 2020

In advance of Ireland’s third periodic hearing under the UN Convention against Torture, the Committee against Torture has requested information on a list of issues from Ireland. This was informed by submissions by civil society, including IPRT.

UNODC, WHO, UNAIDS and OHCHR issue joint statement on COVID-19 in prisons and other closed settings

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.

ECtHR: Detention conditions and treatment of prisoners

5th July 2019

The European Court of Human Rights has published a factsheet on detention conditions and treatment of prisoners outlines findings of inhuman and/or degrading treatment of prisoners.

Guide to the Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration of Women Prisoners

23rd May 2019

Co-published by Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ) and Penal Reform International (PRI), this guide comprises of research into rehabilitation and reintegration practices around the world specifically for women in prison.

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

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