Since the commencement of the IPS Census of Restricted Regime Prisoners in July 2013, the number of prisoners on 22/23 hour restricted regime has decreased dramatically. However, IPRT is concerned about the length of time that individual prisoners are held in conditions which amount to solitary confinement.
Considering the decrease in the number of people on restricted regimes in recent years, we believe that it is an achievable goal for solitary confinement to be abolished in Ireland.
IPRT acknowledges the difficult challenge for any prison service in balancing prisoner safety (respecting the right to life) on the one hand, while at the same time providing prisoners with a reasonable and humane regime (respecting rights such as the right to private and family life). However, when drawing this balance, it is IPRT’s position that the potential harm to prisoners’ mental health that can be caused by extended periods of isolation means that the practice of holding any category of prisoner on 22+ hour lock-up must only ever be an exceptional measure; that this cannot be a solution in itself to prisoner safety concerns; and that robust safeguards must be in place in relation to the use of such regimes.
In 2016, IPRT secured funding from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to pursue an evidence-based research and awareness campaign towards the abolition of the use of solitary confinement in Ireland. 'Behind the Door': Solitary Confinement in the Irish Penal System was published in February 2018.
For the latest IPS Census of Restricted Regime Prisoners, click here.
31st March 2020
The Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) in Australia has published 'Stopping Solitary Confinement', a submission to the Royal Commission into Violence, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. The HRLC writes specifically about the use of solitary confinement during COVID-19.
5th July 2019
The European Court of Human Rights has published a factsheet on detention conditions and treatment of prisoners outlines findings of inhuman and/or degrading treatment of prisoners.
21st May 2019
Global Prison Trends 2019 is the fifth edition in PRI’s annual flagship Global Prison Trends series which identifies topical developments and challenges in criminal justice, and prison policy and practice.
21st May 2019
The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR) has published a review identifying ways to improve the health and wellbeing of young people in custody.
10th May 2019
The Irish Prison Service Statistics Office has published the Census of Restricted Regimes for April 2019.
10th August 2018
The Irish Prison Service Statistics Office has published its Census of Restricted Regimes for July 2018.
10th May 2018
Many of the issues raised by IPRT during our hearing before the Committee are included in the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality report on Penal Reform and Sentencing.
3rd February 2018
This event took place on Friday 2 February 2018 from 11am in the Hilton Kilmainham.
2nd February 2018
This report contains 25 key recommendations centring on the use of solitary confinement and restricted regimes in Ireland.
17th January 2018
The Irish Penal Reform Trust notes the publication of 14 reports from the visiting committees for each of Ireland’s prisons.