13th November 2020
Following delays, the April and July Prison Population Census Reports were published during the week of 9th November 2020.
The January reports were published in Spring 2020 but were unpublished in Autumn 2020. They were made available online again in advance of the publication of the April and July 2020 reports.
‘Rule 103’ is a new addition to these census reports. Prisoners held on Rule 103 are held under COVID-19 infection control measures (isolation, quarantine, and cocooning).
Key points from the April and July reports:
Over the course of the pandemic, media reports have suggested that prisoners suspected of having COVID-19 have been held in conditions akin to solitary confinement. Similarly, in a report published by the Office of Inspector of Prisons and Maynooth University, one prisoner cocooning stated that 'cocooning is like doing my time in solitary confinement’.
IPRT has previously highlighted the importance of the availability of single-cell accommodation for those who chose to avail of it. This is of increased importance during a pandemic, when access to single-cell accommodation is essential in order to meet compliance with infection and prevention control standards, including facilitating social distancing.
While it is welcome that this data has been published, the lack of data published during the pandemic is a cause for concern. Additionally, this data is a snapshot only and does not capture trends or day to day fluctuations, or minimum and maximum values throughout the period of restrictions.
All Prison Population Census Reports are available on the Irish Prison Service website here.