Irish Penal Reform Trust

IPRT Submission to the Review Group on Thornton Hall

26th July 2011

IPRT made a submission to the Review Group on Thornton Hall, which was tasked by the Minister for Justice to assess whether building of the proposed super-prison should proceed, in May 2011. The Review Group presented its final report to the Minister for Justice on 1st July, 2011.

The IPRT submission to the Review Group on Thornton Hall focuses the wider needs of the prison system and, crucially, the overall objectives of crime policy and wider social policy. The submission is also conscious of the current need for value for money in the various options available.

Contents of Submission:

1. General Principles

  • Need for a Wider Crime Policy
  • Penal Moderation
  • Thornton in the Context of the Needs of the Prison System
  • The Economic Context for Prison Building
2. Questions of Quantity
  • Ending Prison Overcrowding
  • Reducing the Prison Population
  • Towards a Package of Measures to Reduce Prisoner Numbers
  • Planning Prison Projections for the Future

3. Standards of Imprisonment and the Present Prison Estate

  • Basic Cell Conditions
  • Safe Custody Limits
  • Penal Moderation - Open Prisons, Smaller Prisons, Local Prisons

4. Consequences for Thornton Hall and Prison Building Strategy

To download the submission, please click on the icon above.

IPRT previously made a submission on the proposed prison project to the Oireachtas Justice Committee in June 2008, and subsequently published a Position Paper on Thornton Hall.

IPRT has also published additional Position Papers on the related issues of Mandatory Sentencing (May 2009), Planning the Future of Irish Prisons (July 2009), Human Rights in Prison (September 2009), and Penal Policy with Imprisonment as a Last Resort (September 2009) - available at:

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



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