Irish Penal Reform Trust

IPRT Submission to LoIPR process on Ireland's Fifth Periodic Examination under the ICCPR

2nd October 2020

The Irish Penal Reform Trust welcomed the opportunity to prepare this submission to inform the United Nations Human Rights Committee's List of Issues Prior to Reporting (LOIPR) for Ireland's fifth periodic review under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The submission highlights areas of concern related to prisoners and prison conditions in Ireland.

In 2014, IPRT submitted to the Human Rights Committee in advance of Ireland’s fourth periodic examination under the ICCPR. In this present submission, IPRT to notes three significant improvements since then:

  • The practice of sending children to adult prisons in Ireland ended in 2017
  • A decrease in the number of prisoners slopping out, from 11.7% in 2014 to 1% in 2020
  • An overall decrease in committals to prison for fines default, from 9,883 in 2015 to 861 in 2019

This submission outlines the most pertinent issues under the relevant articles of the Covenant. Headline issues include:

  • Ireland has not ratified OPCAT nor established a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM)
  • There has been no inspection report of a closed prison published since 2014
  • Prisoners have no access to an independent complaints appeal mechanism
  • People with severe mental illness continue to be detained in the Irish prison system
  • Pre-trial detainees share cells with sentenced prisoners. For females, there is no separation of detainees awaiting trial, immigration detainees, and sentenced prisoners.

The submission outlines IPRT's concerns, as they relate to each article of the Convention, including: COVID-19 and human rights; investigations into prison custody; access to urgent medical care; ratification of the OPCAT; inspections and monitoring; access to mental health treatment; solitary confinement; restricted regimes and out-of-cell time; conditions of detention; lack of in-cell sanitation; lack of segregation of remand and convicted prisoners; violence in prisons; a fully independent complaints system; family life; rehabilitation and spent convictions; and juvenile justice.

Read IPRT's submission here

Read other submissions to the process on the UN website here.

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

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