Irish Penal Reform Trust

Prisons Inspectorate Annual Report for 2019 published

20th March 2021

[The below was a short initial response to the publication of the 2019 Annual Report. A more detailed response is now available here.]

The 2019 Annual Report of the Office of the Inspector of Prisons was published by the Minister for Justice on 18th March 2021. The report highlights a number of critical issues in prisons in Ireland, including:

  • the treatment of mentally ill prisoners which "must be addressed as a matter of extreme urgency" (p. 38)
  • many mentally ill prisoners are on "extremely restricted daily regime" (p. 38) and one man spent more than 51 days in a Special Observation Cell in Cloverhill Prison (p. 17)
  • most 'protection' prisoners on restricted regimes have no access to education and workshops, and some had difficulties securing family visits in 2019 (p. 40)
  • major issues with the prisoner complaints system, including failure to observe legal obligations, and provision of "inaccurate data" to the Inspectorate (from p. 41)

IPRT notes that the Annual Report for 2020 was submitted to the Minister for Justice on 16th March 2021, and calls for it to be published without delay. Timely publication of inspection reports is even more important now than ever, given the severe restrictions in place in prisons due to the pandemic and the lack of in-person visits. 

The 2019 report can be accessed here. IPRT's analysis of the report will follow Monday 22nd March 2021. [Now available here.]

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

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