18th November 2016
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Welcome to the fifth edition of the IPRT Ebulletin in 2016. The autumn period has been a busy one, with our AGM and members event on 22nd September and the launch of our report on older people in prison on 30th September. Also, IPRT was pleased to take part in a seminar on the Parole Bill hosted by Senator Ivana Bacik on Thursday 6th October in the AV Room of Leinster House.
On 24th October, for the first time, data was released on the length of time people in Irish prisons spend in solitary confinement. Also, on 9th November, figures were released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on recividism rates of individuals released from the custody of the Irish Prison Service in 2010, and also individuals placed on Probation Orders or Community Service Orders in 2010. Both issues generated a lot of media attention and debate, which IPRT was part of.
The IPRT team saw a few changes, with Deirdre Malone going on matenity leave and Michelle Martyn joining us as Senior Research and Policy Manager. We are also recruiting for the Policy & Advocacy Internship programme running from February - June 2017.
IPRT continues to work towards its objectives in the areas of: reducing the use of imprisonment; strengthening transparency and accountability in the penal system; and ensuring the protection of human rights in prison, while maintaining a commitment to full transparency and accountability. We are holding a small Friends of IPRT event in the Morrison Hotel on Monday 12th December from 6.30-8.30pm, to thank those who are currently Friends of IPRT, and to hopefully make some new ones!
As always, we welcome your feedback and comments. Contact Lorraine Whitty, Membership & Communications Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org
IPRT Executive Director Deirdre Malone went on maternity leave in October, and we congratulate her on her new arrival and wish her all the best. Fíona Ní Chinnéide is Acting Executive Director to October 2017, and Lorraine Whitty is Membership & Communications Officer to this date also.
Michelle Martyn took up post as Senior Research and Policy Manager on 7th November 2016. Previously, Michelle worked in EPIC (Empowering People in Care) as Research, Policy and Fundraising Assistant. In 2012, Michelle worked as Research and Policy Officer (Maternity Cover) in IPRT and authored ‘Picking up the Pieces: the Rights and Needs of Children and Families Affected by Imprisonment’. She also worked as an Independent Research Consultant for the Probation Service in 2011 on analysis of the project ‘Drug and Alcohol Misuse among Adult Offenders on Probation Supervision: Findings from the Drug and Alcohol Survey 2011’.
IPRT recently received funding for an exciting new human rights project, part of which will include the production of a flagship annual publication on human rights in prison, due to be first published in 2017. Michelle will be centrally involved in the initial methodology design, research and delivery of the substantive content of this publication.
IPRT is now inviting applications for Policy & Advocacy internship placements, working as part of the IPRT Team on the February – June 2017 programme. Interns work as an integral part of the IPRT team, supporting our policy, research, advocacy and communications activities.The deadline for applications is Friday 2nd December 2016 at 5pm. Interviews for shortlisted applicants will take place on Friday 9th December 2016 in IPRT's offices. Completed applications forms should be sent with a recent CV, to: email@example.com
For more information, including an application form, please visit: www.iprt.ie/internships
On 30th September 2016, the eve of U.N. International Day of Older Persons, IPRT launched a new report on The Rights, Needs and Experiences of Older People in Prison in Ireland.
The number of older people in Irish prisons has increased considerably in recent years and this group now represents a substantial minority within the Irish prison system. Latest figures indicate that almost 10% of people in prison custody today are over the age of 50 (Irish Prison Service, 2015).
Older people in prison are a particularly vulnerable group, and they face a wide range of issues which are different from those faced by the general prison population. The report examines these issues across six main themes:
The report offers clear recommendations based on best practice examples and the recommendations of the research participants and professional stakeholders.
This report is based on research commissioned by IPRT and conducted by Joanna Joyce and Dr Tina Maschi. Encouragingly, the Irish Prison Service Strategic Plan 2016–2018 includes a commitment to finalise and implement an Older Prisoner Strategy.
Speakers at the launch event were -
Senator David Norris, who launched the report;
Joanna Joyce, co-author of the report;
Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communications, Age Action Ireland; and
Patrick Gageby, SC, who examined the detention in prison of people suffering from dementia or other serious health conditions from a legal perspective.
There was a lot of media interest and debate generated by the report, to read more click here. To download the report, and learn more about the research, click here.
IPRT is very grateful to the St Stephen's Green Trust for generously supporting this research.
We held our AGM on Thursday 22 September 2016 in the Camden Court Hotel, Dublin 2 from 6pm-7.30pm, and it was great to see many familiar faces and also some new faces there.
A report on activities and developments during 2015 was presented to members by Deirdre Malone, Executive Director and Seamus Taylor, Chairperson. For the annual report on IPRT activities and developments during 2015 and 2016, and including financial statements for the year ended 2015, please click here.
We said good bye and sincere thanks to two long-serving Board members who retired from IPRT's Board of Directors - Johnny Connolly and Kevin Warner. We wish them all the best in their future endeavours. We congratulate Christine Littlefield and Eddie D'Arcy who were re-elected on the night, and welcome Aislinn O'Donnell who was co-opted to the Board during 2016 and Brigid Pike who was elected to the Board of Directors at AGM. Details of IPRT's Board of Directors can be found here.
We were also delighted to have Stephen Doyle, Founder and Director of Services of Care After Prison address members on his lived experience of imprisonment, the story around the founding of CAP and his current work with ex-offenders. It was extremely valuable to hear his story and learn more about his important work.
For more information on any of the above, contact Lorraine Whitty, Membership & Communications Officer, on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01-8741400.
Senator Ivana Bacik hosted the first All-Party Penal Reform Group Briefing Seminar of the 32nd Dáil and the 25th Seanad on Thursday 6th October 2016 in the AV Room, Leinster House. IPRT were delighted to attend and speak at this event. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan TD introduced a draft Private Member's Bill entitled ‘Parole Bill 2016’ before the Dáil and this formed the topic of the seminar.
Hosted by Senator Bacik, speakers for this event were:
- Mr. Jim O’Callaghan, T.D.
- Mr. John Costello, Chairman of the Parole Board
- Dr Diarmuid Griffin, Department of Law, NUI Galway
- Mr. Thomas O'Malley, Department of Law, NUI Galway & the Irish Sentencing Information System
- Ms. Deirdre Malone, Executive Director, IPRT
A presentation given by Dr. Griffin can be viewed here.
IPRT's Briefing on Parole and Temporary Release of prisoners serving long sentences (updated October 2016) can be accessed here.
Recent developments in the area of prisons and penal reform
An article in The Irish Times on 24th October revealed that on January 1st 2016, 51 people in Irish prisons were being held in solitary confinement for 22 hours a day. 24 of these had been held in solitary confinement for more than 100 days, and 9 had been so held for more than a year. This presents the first occasion on which information has been released as to the length of time people in Irish prisons spend in solitary confinement, and the information seriously concerns IPRT. Read more here.
The First Interim Report of the Interdepartmental Group to examine issues relating to people with mental illness who come in contact with the criminal justice system was produced in collaboration between the Department of Justice and Equality, Department of Health, the Health Service Executive, the National Forensic Mental Health Service, An Garda Síochána, the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the Irish Prison Service. Published on 21st September 2016, the report can be read here.
The Strategic Review of Penal Policy Implementation Oversight Group Reports were published on on www.justice.ie on 8th November 2016. They can be accessed here.
The Central Statistics Office published a study on 9th November 2016 which examines individuals who were placed on Probation Orders or Community Service Orders in the year 2010, and their subsequent levels of re-offending. Read more
The Central Statistics Office published a study on 9th November 2016 which examines individuals who were released from the custody of the Irish Prison Service in the year 2010, and their subsequent levels of re-offending. Read more
The Irish Prison Service Statistics Office has published its quarterly statistical analysis of prison population, cell occupancy and in-cell sanitation facts and figures for October 2016. Read more
The Irish Prison Service Statistics Office has published its quarterly census of Restricted Regime Prisoners in the Irish prison system. The result of the October 2016 survey shows that the number of prisoners on restricted regimes has increased by 22 in the overall figure compared to July 2016. Read more
Here we have compiled a list of links to relevant Parliamentary Questions and Dáil debates recorded on the online resource www.kildarestreet.com the Oireachtas website at: www.oireachtas.ie/parliament Click here.
David Strang, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland (HMCIPS), published his third Annual Report, for the years 2015-2016, on 26th October 2016. This was the first year of reporting on both the inspection of prisons, and the monitoring of prisons by Independent Prison Monitors (IPMs) … Read more
The White Paper on Prison Safety and Reform was presented to Parliament on 3rd November 2016. Read more
Would you like to become a member of IPRT?
Annual membership is just €10 for students, €40 for individuals, €80 for organisations/firms, and free to prisoners and their families.
We can’t promise you lots of free stuff, but by becoming a member of IPRT you will be expressing your support for urgent penal reform in Ireland. Why not consider becoming an IPRT member now?
IPRT receives core funding from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and: