Irish Penal Reform Trust

Ebulletin #95

10th April 2018

Ebulletin #95

  1. Project Update: Addressing the Over-Representation of Children in Care in the Criminal Justice System
  2. New Inspector of Prisons
  3. Penal Reform Updates
  4. Making the News
  5. Featured Service: New Care after Prison Peer Led Mentoring Programme
  6. Become a Member or a Friend of IPRT

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Welcome to the second edition of the IPRT E-Bulletin in 2018!

We warmly welcome the very recent appointment of Patricia Gilheaney to the vitally important role of Inspector of Prisons and we look forward to working constructively with her office once she takes up her post in May 2018.

Over this period IPRT have made a number of policy submissions - to the Law Reform Commission setting out our priorities for inclusion in their 5th Programme of Law Reform; namely an examination of Sentencing and a review of Prison Law. We have also provided a detailed response to their public consultation on Suspended Sentences as well as a submission to TDs and Senators on the Parole Bill 2016 [Report Stage]. IPRT have also been pleased to provide a number of information sessions to all new prison officer recruits on penal reform and human rights at the IPS Training College.

In addition, work continues on an exciting new project which examines the connections between the care system and the criminal justice system with a call for submissions which ended on 23rd March. If you have missed this deadline but would still like to contribute your views just get in touch:

The #ratifyOPCAT Campaign also continues apace – I presented at the launch of the NASC Report: Immigration Detention and Border Control in Ireland pushing again for the ratification of OPCAT. We continue to advocate with stakeholders after the launch of ‘Behind the Door’: Solitary Confinement in the Irish Penal System  and to promote the #AbolishSolitary campaign. Work for the second year of the ‘Progress in the Penal System’ (PIPS) 2018 project is well underway and we expect this launch to take place Friday 26 October at the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission HQ - so save the date now!

Finally, we were very pleased to receive a generous donation last month from the St. Patrick’s Cathedral Community Giving & Charitable Funds 2017 to support our ongoing work. Individuals and organisations which provide us with financial support enable us to do the type of work you read about within this Bulletin. They are our Unsung Heroes. We thank them sincerely for their support. If you would like to help us to continue to do this work you can make a once off or a monthly donation anytime by clicking here.

I thank you again for your ongoing support of IPRT, and look forward to keeping you updated on our projects and progress during the upcoming year.

Deirdre Malone
Executive Director

As always, we welcome your feedback and comments. Contact Lorraine Whitty, Membership and Administration Officer:


Project Update: Addressing the Over-Representation of Children in Care in the Criminal Justice System

IPRT recently circulated a call for submissions for our exciting new project ‘Addressing the Over-Representation of Children in Care in the Criminal Justice System’ (closing date for submissions was 23rd March) and we were very pleased at the level of response and interest shown in the project, and in this important issue. This project has two main aims:

  1. To examine the extent of, and the reasons for the over-representation of children in care or with care experience in the criminal justice system in Ireland and;
  2. To identify the best ways to address and reduce the criminalisation of these young people.

IPRT has selected an advisory group, comprising of individuals and organisations with an interest in this area. For more on this project, go to

This campaign is kindly supported by The Community Foundation for Ireland.

CFI Logo


New Inspector of Prisons

IoP logoIPRT has welcomed the appointment of Patricia Gilheaney as the new Inspector of Prisons and has called on her to prioritise the frequency of prison inspections and the publication of associated reports when she takes up her new role next month. Read more here.


Penal Reform Updates

Recent developments in the area of prisons and penal reform.

A. Death in Custody Reports

The Office of the Inspector of Prisons has published a number of reports into deaths occurring in prison custody in 2017. Read more.

B. Parole Reform and Sentencing

Killing TimeThe recent publication of  Killing Time – Life Imprisonment and Parole in Ireland’, by Dr. Diarmuid Griffin has generated much media comment and interest in sentencing and also parole reform, drawing attention to the fact that “Ireland has the third highest rate of life-sentence prisoners in Europe”, and that Ireland is an anomaly in Europe “because decisions on parole are made by the Justice Minister on the advice of the Parole Board”.

IPRT campaigns for Parole reform - read our latest paper on the Parole Bill 2016 here.

C. Immigration Detention: Nasc Report Reveals Flaws in Ireland's Immigration System

Nasc reportThe Irish Immigrant Support Centre (Nasc) launched a new report, 'Immigration Detention and Border Control in Ireland: Revisiting Irish Law, Policy and Practice', on Tuesday 13th March 2018. IPRT Executive Director Deirdre Malone spoke at the launch, highlighting the inappropriate nature of prison for immigration detention. For more on this, read here.

D. 2016 Report on the Garda Diversion Programme

Garda Diversion 2016 reportThe Department of Justice and Equality has published the 'Annual Report of the Committee Appointed to Monitor the Effectiveness of the Diversion Programme 2016' on 20th February 2018. Read more here.

E. Oberstown Campus: Report Finds Supportive Education for Students

Oberstown logoOberstown Children Detention Campus was praised in the Department of Education report for commendable student support and high quality teaching. Read more here.


Making the News

IPRT engages in public debate and commentary to promote penal policy which is just, humane and evidence-led and uses prison as a last resort. Here is just a selection of our media engagements over the last two months.

A. RTE Radio One, 2nd February 2018: ‘Morning Ireland’

Speaking ahead of the launch by UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Professor Juan Méndez of our report 'Behind the Door': Solitary Confinement in the Irish Penal System, IPRT’s Deirdre Malone called for the abolition of solitary confinement in Ireland.

Listen here.

B. The Irish Examiner, 10th February 2018: ‘40% Drop in people being sent to prison’, by Cormac O’Keefe

Provisional figures released by Irish Prison Service (IPS) showed there were 9,332 committals in 2017, compared to 15,099 in 2016 — a fall of 38%. IPRT’s Deirdre Malone is quoted in the article as saying: “These numbers demonstrate that the commencement of the Fines [Payment and Recovery] Act 2014 is having a positive effect in reducing prison committals.”

C. The Irish Examiner, 14th March 2018: ‘Migrants’ detention in breach of human rights’, by Dan Buckley

Nasc’s (Irish Immigrant Support Centre) ‘Immigration Detention and Border Control in Ireland report’, launched in Cork on 14th March, showed that around 28,000 people were refused entry between 2008 and 2016, and called on the Government to bring immigration detention procedures into line with Ireland’s international obligations and, in particular, to ensure that people neither suspected nor convicted of a criminal offence are not kept in prison. Speaking at the launch, IPRT’s Deirdre Malone said that “Given the State’s commitment to build a specific immigration detention facility in Dublin Airport, and given the findings in this report, it is ever more urgent that Ireland immediately ratify the OPCAT, to assist the State in preventing ill-treatment in places of detention.”

D. Irish Legal News, 5th April 2018: ‘Penal reform group urges ratification of torture protocol after watchdog appointment’

Welcoming the appointment of new Inspector of Prisons Patricia Gilheaney, IPRT has called on the Government to expedite the ratification of Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).


Featured Service: New Care after Prison Peer Led Mentoring Programme

CAP logoCare after Prison (CAP) is an information, referral and support service for those affected by imprisonment. The new peer led mentoring programme is to support those released from prison for the first six months initially, and then for a further six months.

A mentor provides support, wisdom and guidance during a transitional often challenging time on release from prison and is a ‘safe pair of ears’ who can help by sharing their own experience and knowledge of what helped them during their  own challenging times and share this with a mentee. All those taking part in the programme as mentors are given training to become mentors.

For further details, contact:
Tony Kiely, Project Leader, Peer Mentor Training Programme
Care after Prison, 56 Aungier Street, Dublin 2.
Phone: 01 4720973
Mobile: 0857662191


Become a Member or a Friend of IPRT

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.

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?

Become a Friend

Becoe a Friend

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.

IPRT relies on donations from charitable trusts, individual donations and membership subscriptions to cover operational costs. Our CHY number is 11091.

We have also received funding from two donor-advised funds and two project funds managed by the Community Foundation for Ireland, we were one of the awardees for the inaugural Human Rights and Equality Grants Scheme of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, and we received a donation from the St. Patrick’s Cathedral Community Giving & Charitable Funds 2017. St. Patrick's logo


IPRT is also grateful for core funding from the following:


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



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