Irish Penal Reform Trust

DIARY NOTICE: Prison Conditions as a Constitutional Issue (Seminar)

4th July 2011

On Thursday 21st July, 2011 the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) will hold a public seminar, Prison Conditions as a Constitutional Issue: Recent Experiences from the US and Ireland, which will discuss possible implications of two recent court judgments, from Ireland and the United States, in which the constitutional rights of prisoners were found to have been infringed by unacceptable prison conditions.

Speakers will include Michael O’Higgins SC, counsel for the plaintiff in the recent High Court case of Kinsella -v- Governor of Mountjoy Prison; and Don Specter, Director and Sara Norman, Managing Attorney of the Prison Law Office, San Quentin (CA), who argued on behalf of California prisoners in the recent US Supreme Court case of Plata -v- Brown. The presentation of the California speakers will be broadcast on screen.

The event takes place at Distillery Building, Church St, Dublin 7 on Thursday 21st July, 2011 from 5-7pm. The Annual General Meeting of IPRT takes place before the seminar (3.30pm).

We are very grateful to MacGuill & Company Solicitors for sponsorship towards this event.

For all media enquiries, or to arrange an interview with speakers, please contact:

Fíona Ní Chinnéide, Campaigns & Communications Officer, Irish Penal Reform Trust

T: + 353 1 874 1400           E:


SEMINAR: Prison Conditions as a Constitutional Issue

This seminar takes place Thursday 21st July, 2011 from 5-7pm in the Distillery Building, Church St, Dublin 7. To reserve a place, please contact or 01-8741400 or register online.

IRELAND: Kinsella -v- Governor of Mountjoy Prison

On 12 June, 2011, the detention of a man in a padded cell in Mountjoy Prison for 11 days was deemed to have violated his constitutional rights in a judgement delivered by Mr Justice Gerard Hogan. An Irish Times report on the court judgement is available here; the full judgment is available here.

CALIFORNIA: Plata -v- Brown

On 23 May, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that overcrowding in California’s prisons results in cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion concluded that “[w]ithout a reduction in overcrowding, there will be no efficacious remedy for the unconstitutional care of the sick and mentally ill in California’s prisons.” The Supreme Court’s ruling means the Governor must reduce the prison population by approx. 32,000 prisoners within the next two years. More details available here.

Prison Law Office |

For over 30 years, the Prison Law Office, a nonprofit public interest law firm, has been in the forefront of legal efforts to enforce the Constitution and other laws inside the walls of California's prisons. The Prison Law Office represents individual prisoners, engages in class action and other impact litigation, educates the public about prison conditions, and provides technical assistance to attorneys throughout the country. The Prison Law Office focuses on cases in which a change in conditions is sought. See:

Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) |

IPRT is Ireland's leading non-governmental organisation campaigning for the rights of everyone in prison and the progressive reform of Irish penal policy, with prison as a last resort.

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



Contact us

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