Irish Penal Reform Trust

Progress in the Penal System: A framework for penal reform (2019)

28th November 2019

Progress in the Penal System: A framework for penal reform (2019)

The Irish Penal Reform Trust launched their third instalment of Progress in the Penal System: A framework for penal reform (2019) on 25th October 2019 in the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

[L-R: Kate Mitchell, Mental Health Reform; Dr Gurchand Singh, Department of Justice and Equality; Caron McCaffrey, Irish Prison Service; Seamus Taylor, Maynooth University; Fíona Ní Chinnéide, IPRT; Michelle Martyn, IPRT. Photo: Derek Speirs]

This report is the third in a series of annual reports providing a comprehensive report on human rights and best practice in Ireland’s penal system. IPRT has developed 35 standards against which the prevailing situation in Ireland’s penal system is independently tracked, monitored and assessed on an annual basis. The report covers wide-ranging areas of penal policy including prison conditions, regimes, and access to education and services.

Of the 35 standards:

  • 7 have progressed
  • 6 have regressed
  • 10 are mixed
  • 10 have not changed
  • for 2 standards there are insufficient data

IPRT’s ‘spotlight issues’ for 2018/2019 were:

  • Access to healthcare
  • Access to mental healthcare
  • Prisoner complaints mechanisms.

Read or download the report here

The launch was chaired by Seamus Taylor, Chair of the IPRT Board and Lecturer in Social Policy Studies in the Department of Applied Social Studies, NUI Maynooth. Speakers and panellists (in order of speaking) included:

  • Fíona Ní Chinnéide, Executive Director, Irish Penal Reform Trust;
  • Michelle Martyn, Senior Research and Policy Manager, Irish Penal Reform Trust;
  • Caron McCaffrey, Director General, Irish Prison Service;
  • Dr Gurchand Singh, Chief Information Officer, Department of Justice and Equality
  • Kate Mitchell, Deputy Director, Mental Health Reform


Photos of the event are available here

Media Coverage:


This 3-year flagship project is kindly supported by The Community Foundation for Ireland. 

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



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