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 2019) 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.
20th July 2015
An article in the Economist explains the moral issues of the mass-incarceration of Americans.
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.
11th August 2014
Prison should not be the ‘default sentence’, leading UK criminal justice experts argued in a report recently published (July 3rd 2014).
1st May 2013
A new independent monitoring system is to be established in Scotland, replacing the current system of prison visiting committees.
27th March 2013
The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality launched its Sub-Committee Report on Penal Reform on March 27th March 2013
8th August 2012
IPRT today has given a cautious welcome to proposals for a new Prisoner Complaints system.
7th August 2012
The Parole Board should operate independent of government and on a statutory basis.
31st July 2012
IPRT Board member, Dr Kevin Warner, outlines why reducing prisoner 'gratuity' is a complex and far-reaching issue.
31st July 2012
Ireland's high rate of drug-related deaths is avoidable and challenges current policy approaches.