5th September 2017
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Welcome to the third edition of the IPRT Ebulletin in 2017.
Since our last newsletter, Ireland has been reviewed for the second time by the UN Committee against Torture, with a number of key recommendations to the Irish government relating to places of detention, centring on prison health, solitary confinement, and more. We welcome the progress achieved since the first review in 2011, and look forward to working with all stakeholders towards implementation of the 2017 recommendations over the coming 5 years.
The Department of Justice & Equality has also opened applications for the role of Inspector of Prisons, which follows the untimely death of Judge Michael Reilly in November 2016. IPRT strongly welcomes the open recruitment approach taken to filling this important role for the protection of human rights in prisons in Ireland.
IPRT’s Annual General Meeting will take place on 21st September 2017 in the Ashling Hotel, Dublin 8. The Board and staff of IPRT are looking forward to updating our members on activities and achievements over the past 12 months, and discussing key issues and directions for the forthcoming year. We are also inviting nominations for two positions on the IPRT board, more details below.
Other upcoming events include ‘Unseen, Unheard': Advancing the Rights and Needs of Children with a Parent in Prison (6th September), and on 26th Sept 2017, IPRT will host a ‘Working with Convictions’ seminar, with keynote speaker James Timpson OBE, Chair of the Prison Reform Trust and Chief Executive of Timpson, a family-owned retail business that proactively recruits ex-offenders. Other speakers at this exciting event will include Paddy Richardson, Chief Executive of IASIO and Niall Walsh, Manager of the Pathways Centre.
October will be another busy month for IPRT, with launches of two new publications: Progress in the Penal System (PIPS) and a discussion paper on Community Service as an Alternative to Imprisonment in Ireland. We will also be welcoming IPRT Executive Director Deirdre Malone back from maternity leave on 16th October 2017! Before that, on Saturday 7th October, Deirdre will be addressing the Law Society Annual Human Rights Conference 2017: ‘Inside Out: the Human Rights Implications of Imprisonment’. More details including registrations here.
Leanne Digney finished her internship placement with us in August. She was a terrific addition to the IPRT team, and we wish her all the best for the future. Denise Roche will start her Policy & Advocacy Internship placement with IPRT in September, and we are currently recruiting an additional intern for the autumn placement, so watch this space!
As always, we welcome your feedback and comments. Contact Lorraine Whitty, Membership & Communications Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org
The IPRT Board invites nominations from the Membership for two additional new Board members to be elected at IPRT’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday 21st September 2017. We are specifically seeking individuals with expertise in our areas of current identified need, namely (1) human resources and (2) drugs policy. If you believe you have this expertise or if you know a person who you believe would be suitable, then fill in the election nomination form sent with your AGM mailing, and return it to IPRT as soon as possible and in any event before noon on Thursday, 14th September 2017.
Our IPRT Annual Review 2016-2017 will be available in hard copy at the meeting, and we will publish it online after the AGM.
We are delighted to invite members to an exclusive members’ talk following the AGM. The Deputy Inspector of Prisons, Ms. Helen Casey will speak about the role and work of the Office of the Inspector of Prisons. This will run from 7.15 to 8pm. A drinks reception will follow.
AGM attendance and participation is open to all current members of IPRT, and members were sent their AGM documentation in August. If you would like to become a member or renew your membership, you can do so here or by contacting Lorraine Whitty, Membership & Communications Officer, on email@example.com or 01-8741400.
On 6th Sept 2017, IPRT and lead partners Dr Fiona Donson and Dr Aisling Parkes of the School of Law, University College Cork and the Children’s Rights Alliance will host a seminar to raise awareness of the need for a national advocacy strategy to support children with a parent in prison. This important collaboration comes almost 5 years on from IPRT’s 2012 report, "Picking Up the Pieces": The Rights and Needs of Children and Families Affected by Imprisonment.
Unseen, Unheard': Advancing the Rights and Needs of Children with a Parent in Prison seminar event takes place on Wednesday 6th September, 9.15-14.00, at the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, 16-22 Green Street, Dublin 7.
Speakers will include:
•Ilina Taneva (Council for Penological Co-operation, Council of Europe);
•Tim Haines (Family Support Manager, Families Outside, Scotland);
•Larry de Cléir (Project Leader, Bedford Row);
•Fergal Black (Director of Care and Rehabilitation, Irish Prison Service); and
•Fergal Landy (Regional Implementation Manager for Prevention, Partnership and Family Support, West, TUSLA).
This event is funded by the Irish Research Council.
Securing employment or training, and the ability to rebuild a life after committing an offence, is crucial to breaking the cycle of offending. Effective spent convictions legislation has a major role to play in removing barriers to the reintegration of former offenders and prisoners who have demonstrated that they have moved on from past offending behaviour.
On 26th Sept 2017, IPRT will host a seminar focusing on these issues in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin 2.
We are delighted to announce that the keynote speaker will be Mr. James Timpson, OBE, Chair of the Prison Reform Trust (UK) and Chair of the Employers Forum for Reducing Reoffending. James is Chief Executive of Timpson, a family-owned retail business that proactively recruits ex-offenders into the company through working closely with the prison service at over 70 prisons across the UK. 10% of Timpson colleagues were recruited directly from prison.
A panel discussion will tackle different barriers presented by a convictions history, including accessing employment, insurance, and reintegration of people following release from prison.
At the event, IPRT will launch a new public information campaign on spent convictions, which will include two information videos produced by SpunOut.
Registrations will shortly open for this event, which will take place in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin Castle, Dublin 2 from 11-1pm (registrations from 10.30am).
Watch this space!
Ireland’s performance under the UNCAT was reviewed for the second time by the UN Committee against Torture in July 2017, with a number of key recommendations to the Irish government relating to places of detention, centring on prison health, solitary confinement, and more. Many of the recommendations reflecting the key issues that IPRT had highlighted in our submission and oral statements to the Committee.
Acting Executive Director, Fíona Ní Chinnéide travelled with 15 other NGOs to Geneva to attend Ireland’s hearing under UNCAT and engage directly with the Committee. In advance of the review, IPRT made a submission to the committee outlining the progress that had been made on the 2011 Concluding Observations, and providing insight into outstanding issues that required scrutiny for the present reporting cycle. Read our full submission here.
IPRT welcomes the progress achieved on slopping out, reducing overcrowding, and ending imprisonment of children since Ireland’s first review in 2011, and look forward to working with all stakeholders towards implementation of the 2017 recommendations over the coming 5 years.
The UN Committee against Torture published its Concluding Observations on Ireland’s second periodic and it is available here. Ireland’s third periodic review under the Convention is due to take place in 2021.
For more information, click here.
In October 2017, IPRT will launch two new publications:
IPRT will hold a Prison Law Seminar to launch a major research study and discussion paper in October 2017. ‘Examining the comparative use, experience, and outcomes of community service orders as alternatives to short prison sentences in Ireland’ by Dr Kate O’Hara is a 3-year employment-based PhD research project, co-funded by the Irish Research Council, conducted 2013-2016. The PhD study will be published, along with a discussion paper based in the qualitative findings of the PhD.
An initiative of the Board of IPRT, funded through the support of the Community Foundation for Ireland, this new annual flagship report of IPRT will provide an overview of the prevailing situation in Irish penal system, with particular focus on prison conditions, regimes and access to education and services. IPRT Senior Research & Policy Manager, Michelle Martyn has been working towards this report over the past 10 months, working closely with an Advisory Group, and informed by contributions from a wide number of stakeholders and experts.
Further details on both events, including timings, location and agenda, will be confirmed shortly.
Would you like to become a member of IPRT?
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By becoming a Friend of IPRT and making an annual contribution of €250 or more over a 3-year period, you are making a real, meaningful investment in the work that we do. Your pledge will help to secure our core work, ensuring that IPRT can and will continue to advocate for positive penal policy reform in Ireland. Become a Friend here in three simple, secure steps.
We have also received funding from two donor-advised funds managed by the Community Foundation for Ireland, and we were one of the awardees for the inaugural Human Rights and Equality Grants Scheme of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.
IPRT receives core funding from the following: