Irish Penal Reform Trust

Round Up: Abolishing Solitary Confinement in Ireland

3rd February 2018

Sol Conf

[Photo: Professor Barry Goldson, Deirdre Malone, Professor Juan Méndez, Professor Mary Rogan and Professor Ian O'Donnell. Photo: Derek Speirs.]

The Irish Penal Reform Trust launched a major research study on the use of solitary confinement and restricted regimes in Ireland in the Hilton Kilmainham on 2 February 2018.

In 2017, IPRT was awarded grant funding from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission for our project, Abolishing Solitary Confinement in Prisons in Ireland, an evidence-based research and awareness campaign.

In February 2018, we were honoured to welcome the former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Professor Juan Méndez as our keynote speaker, to launch our research report 'Behind the Door': Solitary Confinement in the Irish Penal System.

This report contains 25 key recommendations centring on the use of solitary confinement and restricted regimes in Ireland. Our goal is ambitious but achievable: the abolition of solitary confinement in Ireland in the short term and the gradual elimination of the use of restricted regimes, with the longer-term target of 12 hours' out-of-cell time daily for all prisoners across the prison estate.

The Executive Summary is available here

The launch event, which was chaired by Professor Mary Rogan, also heard from:

  • Dr Agnieszka Martynowicz and Dr Linda Moore, authors of the research;
  • Martin Smyth, Director of Operations, Irish Prison Service;
  • Michael O’Neill, Head of Legal, Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission;
  • Professor Barry Goldson; University of Liverpool;
  • Clare Daly, T.D.;
  • and Professor Ian O’Donnell, UCD.

At the event, we also launched an animation to raise awareness of the use of solitary confinement in Ireland.

The animation is available to view here.

The research report is available to download here.

Photos of the event are available here.

Media coverage: 

This project was supported by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

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



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