Irish Penal Reform Trust

Penal Policy

IPRT advocates for a national penal policy that is just and humane, promotes effective non-custodial responses to crime and uses prison as a last resort.

Our vision is for Irish penal policy that focuses on non-custodial responses to crime and has rehabilitation and social reintegration at its core. We believe that the emphasis of our penal system needs to move towards diverting young offenders and at risk groups away from offending behaviour at the entry points to the penal system.

We work towards securing long-term commitment to a coherent, evidence-informed, and effective penal policy, underpinned by international best practice. Effectiveness in this context is taken to mean the approaches to offending behaviour which reduce the risk of re-offending and which are seen to have the greatest social and economic benefits while minimising potential social and economic harm.

Key issues for IPRT in relation to the development of Irish penal policy over recent years have included highlighting the rapid expansion of our prison population from 2007 to 2011 (and again in 2018) and promoting alternatives to custody through research, advocacy and policy work. 

We also engage in public and political debate around crime and punishment to build more informed debate and counteract the demonization of offenders. Some of our media appearances are detailed here.  

Publication of Fourth Report of the Implementation Oversight Group

10th November 2017

The 'Fourth Report of the Implementation Oversight Group' has been published by the Department of Justice and Equality.

Towards an Innovative, Just, Humane and Effective Penal System – an overview of penal reform priorities 2017-21

22nd June 2017

Here, IPRT presents its ten priority directions for a fairer and more effective justice system. All of our proposals are backed up by solid evidence and research.

IPRT Position on Closure of the Training Unit

27th April 2017

IPRT welcomes recent initiatives by the Irish Prison Service to better support rehabilitation of prisoners, but expresses its serious concerns at the imminent closure of the Training Unit semi-open facility on 1st May 2017.

Open Prisons

5th April 2017

Read here for information about open prisons including: international best practice, benefits, and use of open prisons in Ireland.

Parole Bill 2016

21st June 2016

The Parole Board is to be given statutory footing in a new Private Member's Bill brought before the Dáil this month.

U.S. Survey finds that majority of voters want a reduction in the prison population

20th October 2015

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) today released results from a new national survey focused on criminal justice reform. Commissioned by the ACLU and administered by the Benenson Strategy Group, the national survey was conducted from June 2-6, 2015. All respondents were registered voters who are likely to vote in the 2016 presidential election.

UK: Prison Reform Trust, ‘Deep Custody: Segregation Units and Close Supervision Units in England and Wales’

1st October 2015

Dr Sharon Shalev and Kimmett Edgar, in collaboration with the Prison Reform Trust UK has released a report on the conditions inherent to segregation and close supervision units in England and Wales.

The moral failures of America's prison-industrial complex

20th July 2015

An article in the Economist explains the moral issues of the mass-incarceration of Americans.

Strategic Review on Penal Policy - Final Report

18th September 2014

The Final Report of the Strategic Review on Penal Policy was published by Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD on 17 Sept 2014.

UK Report: ‘We should operate with a Presumption Against Imprisonment’

11th August 2014

Prison should not be the ‘default sentence’, leading UK criminal justice experts argued in a report recently published (July 3rd 2014).

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

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  • Tel: 01 874 1400
  • info@iprt.ie
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