24th September 2009
Incontrovertible and devastating evidence of chronic conditions in the largest prison in the State has been released in the Report of an Inspection of Mountjoy Prison by the Inspector of Prisons, published today. The report details the appalling treatment of prisoners in Mountjoy Prison. These are core human rights issues, and the State simply cannot continue to tolerate such extreme violation of human rights.
IPRT is seriously concerned about conditions as described in the report, which are unacceptable and in breach of international human rights standards:
Speaking today, Liam Herrick, Executive Director of IPRT said:
“This report forms an urgent call for political leadership. The Inspector has indicated that the Irish Prison Service is engaging with him constructively, and we believe that if there was strong political leadership, the Irish Prison System would be capable of addressing these issues.
“We cannot wait any longer for a prison that may or not be built. We need a clear statement from the Minister that he will commit to addressing the urgent issues identified in this report, and that he will give the support and leadership necessary to the Irish Prison Service in this regard.”
IPRT believes that this report must act as a watershed in the Irish penal system. In particular, IPRT agrees with the Inspector’s statement that the – now significantly delayed – plans for building a new prison facility to replace Mountjoy can no longer be used as an excuse for not providing safe custody to prisoners and afford them the protection required by international human rights standards.
For all media enquiries, or to arrange an interview with Liam Herrick, IPRT Executive Director, please contact:
Fíona Ní Chinnéide,
Campaigns & Communications Officer
Irish Penal Reform Trust
T: + 353 1 874 1400
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
International criticism: CPT
The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) following its visit to Ireland in 2006, highlighted the high levels of inter-prisoner violence and, in its strongest statement yet regarding Irish prisons, it assessed Mountjoy Prison, Limerick Prison and St. Patrick’s Institution as “unsafe, both for prisoners and for prison staff”. It also recorded a number of instances of ill-treatment of prisoners by staff and lack of appropriate recording of medical examination following such incidents. Read more.
International criticism: UN Human Rights Committee
In 2008, the UN Human Rights Committee highlighted the persistence of poor conditions in Irish prisons, pointing in particular at overcrowding, lack of in-cell sanitation, non-segregation of remand prisoners, shortage of mental health services available, and the high level of inter-prisoner violence. The elimination of overcrowding and the practice of ‘slopping-out’ received particular attention. In the year following the inspection, the situation in Irish prisons has deteriorated, particularly in relation to overcrowding and inter-prisoner violence. See: www.rightsmonitor.org
Human Rights in Irish Prisons
IPRT has just published a Position Paper outlining how international human rights standards apply to the Irish prison system.