IPRT Submission to Joint Committee on Disability Matters
13th November 2020
IPRT made a short submission to the Joint Committee on Disability Matters, focusing on the findings of our 2020 research report, ‘Making Rights Real for People with Disabilities in Prison’.
The report particularly identified a number of challenges facing people with disabilities in prison, which might be of interest to the Committee. These include the following:
- Difficulties for prisoners with disabilities in navigating both the physical environment of prison and the prison regime more generally. This can result in prisoners with disabilities being effectively confined to their cells and/or struggling to gain access to information about key aspects of the prison’s operations and procedures. The latter can have a knock-on effect in terms of individuals’ ability to access key services and understand their rights.
- A limited understanding of disability rights among the prison population. For example, many of the prisoners spoken to as part of this study (16 in total) were unaware that they had rights related to their disability, such as the right to reasonable accommodation under equality legislation.
- The effect of the prison disciplinary regime on people with disabilities. Many prisoners with disabilities reported that they had never received accessible information on the prison rules and regime, which meant that they were more likely to be found in breach of prison discipline.
- A lack of support for disabled people in transitioning out of prison. Reasons for this include, for example, the fact that open prisons are often not available to prisoners with disabilities due to a lack of medical and social support.
The report makes 16 recommendations to address the challenges identified, improve the situation of prisoners with disabilities and ensure the prison service takes action to achieve full adherence to the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
Read our short cover letter here.
Read the Making Rights Real for People with Disabilities in Prison report here.