30th July 2020
On 29th July 2020, the Office of the Inspector of Prisons, in collaboration with Maynooth University Law Department, published a briefing on the experiences of men and women cocooning in Irish prisons. These experiences were captured through journals distributed among the cocooning population in Irish prisons in April 2020.
In response, IPRT issued a statement calling for: implementation of the findings of the report; publication of data on the lengths of time prisoners are held in confinement; strengthening of the Office of the Inspector of Prisons through resources and legislation; and increased emphasis by the Courts on alternatives to prison custody.
IPRT Executive Director Fíona Ní Chinnéide appeared on KFM to discuss IPRT’s response to the briefing in more detail. While there can be some misunderstanding about the practice of cocooning in prison, at its root, cocooning in a prison environment is not the same as cocooning at home or in another environment. The levels of confinement reported by those cocooning in this project are in breach of recognised international human rights standards for people in detention, as well as national law and policy.
To minimise the use of prolonged restrictive practices in prisons, it is essential that prison is reserved as a sanction of last resort – both now and as we begin to move away from the panemic.