Irish Penal Reform Trust

The Irish Times: Hundreds forced to sleep on prison floors each month

5th December 2018

In an article published on 5 December 2018, The Irish Times’ Brian Hutton reports on the numbers sleeping on prison floors each month.

The article outlines that totals for Limerick Prison provided by the Irish Prison Service show 168 women sleeping on mattresses on the floor during May, an average of five every night. Monthly totals for men in Limerick Prison show 404 on cell floors during July, or 13 every night. There were 674 prisoners, or 22 every night, without a bed during July at the Midlands Prison up from 286 the previous month.

The article also details that the increase in figures in Midlands Prison coincided with a sharp fall in the numbers sleeping on the floors in Cloverhill from 326 in June to 22 in July.

Speaking on the issue, IPRT Executive Director Deirdre Malone stated that the scale of the problem is “entirely unacceptable, and in clear contravention of basic human rights norms, including the European Prison Rules”.

IPRT has repeatedly expressed that overcrowding decreases the chance of meaningful rehabilitation, increases tensions and makes prisons less safe for prisoners and staff. Ms Malone is quoted in The Irish Times article, stating that “the prison service cannot meet its duty of care to prisoners in overcrowded conditions”.

Also quoted in the article is Independents4Change TD Clare Daly, who obtained the figures through the Department of Justice, stating that the numbers were “intriguing” and “appalling”.

Read the article in full on The Irish Times website here.


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