Irish Penal Reform Trust

Mental Health

Mental illness in the context of prison must be viewed as a health issue requiring an effective and prompt health intervention, including diversion to appropriate treatment services outside prison. However, people with mental health issues continue to enter the prison system due to a lack of access to appropriate mental health services in the community.

This section includes posts on issues relating to mental health in prison and the wider criminal justice system. If you are looking for general health-related information, click here.

Making Rights Real for People with Disabilities in Prison

15th January 2020

This report examines the rights and experiences of people with disabilities in Irish prisons. Through an international literature review, legislative analysis, stakeholder interviews, and interviews with prisoners and prison staff, it aims to shed light on a previously under-explored area.

Prison is being used to warehouse the effects of social policy failures, and that has to stop.

7th December 2019

The case of a homeless man, suffering from brain damage, who has been held on remand for over a year in Mountjoy prison has received widespread national media attention. The case raises a number of systemic issues that IPRT draws attention to here.

Irish Times: Growing concerns about mental health in Irish prisons

23rd July 2019

The Irish Times reports on an increase in the number of assaults on prison staff. Minister Charlie Flanagan calls for greater measures to address the issue of mental health in prison.

Joint Committee on Future of Mental Health Care: Final report

18th October 2018

The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Future of Mental Health Care has published its final report, with a core recommendation of increasing the number of acute beds from 22 to 50 per 100,000 over 3 years.

IPRT Presentation to the Joint Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care

23rd May 2018

In our appearance before the Committee, IPRT made a number of recommendations, including investment and use of prevention and early intervention supports.

'Mental Illness in Irish Prisoners'

14th November 2017

'Mental Illness in Irish Prisoners: Psychiatric Morbidity in Sentenced, Remanded and Newly Committed Prisoners' (Kennedy et al., 2005) was the first systematic and representative survey of mental health in the Irish Prison population.

IPRT Submission on Mental Health and Criminal Justice

27th April 2012

IPRT made a detailed Submission to the Cross Sectoral Group on Mental Health and Criminal Justice in April 2012.

IPRT Briefing: Mental Health in Prisons (preliminary)

17th November 2009

A short document outlining the issue of mental health in Irish prisons, with six key recommendations.

Out of Mind, Out of Sight: Solitary Confinement of Mentally Ill Prisoners

30th April 2001

A report examining the placement of mentally ill prisoners in solitary confinement in Irish prisons, by Dr. Valerie Bresnihan on behalf of IPRT.

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



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