Irish Penal Reform Trust

Immigration Detention

IPRT opposes immigration detention as a matter of principle. In particular, people seeking asylum in Ireland should not be detained in prisons. International standards in this area, while giving the State a wide margin in relation to devising immigration policies, are quite clear on the fact that immigration detention should only be used in exceptional circumstances, and for the minimum possible time.

IPRT considers that holding immigration detainees in prisons in Ireland is wholly unacceptable. Such practice has been condemned in the past by the European Committee on the Prevention of Torture (CPT), which stated that on a number of occasions the Committee’s delegations have found immigration detainees held in prisons. The CPT went on to say that:

"Even if the actual conditions of detention for these persons in the establishment concerned are adequate – which has not always been the case – the CPT considers such an approach to be fundamentally flawed. A prison is by definition not a suitable place in which to detain someone who is neither convicted nor suspected of a criminal offence."

Indeed, in its 2007 report on a visit to Ireland, the CPT reiterated that point and added that:

"In those cases where it is deemed necessary to deprive persons of their liberty for an extended period under aliens legislation, they should be accommodated in centres specifically designed for that purpose, offering material conditions and a regime appropriate to their legal situation and staffed by suitably qualified personnel."

IPRT is committed to working towards the elimination of immigration detention in Ireland, and in particular to working for an end to the practice of holding immigration detainees in prisons.

Immigration Detention: Nasc Report Reveals Flaws in Ireland's Immigration System

13th March 2018

Nasc has launched a new report on Tuesday 13th March 2018, ahead of plans for a new immigration detention centre in Dublin Airport.

State Sponsored Cruelty: Children in Immigration Detention

9th September 2010

Medical Justice have released a report which represents the first large scale exploration, in the UK, of the physical and psychological harms caused and aggravated by the detention of children for immigration purposes.

Irish Examiner: Women in immigration-related detention suffer racist abuse from inmates

4th August 2010

Findings of a new report highlight that many female foreign nationals being held in the Dóchas Centre are subject to racial abuse

JRS Report: Becoming Vulnerable in Detention

30th June 2010

This report followed 18-months of research with NGOs in 23 EU Member States, and includes a detailed section on Ireland.

Immigration-related detention in Ireland

30th November 2005

A research report by Mark Kelly of Human Rights Consultants for the Irish Refugee Council, Irish Penal Reform Trust and Immigrant Council of Ireland.

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



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