On average, women make up around 4.2% of the prison population, with a large number of committals concerning non-violent offences. Additionally, the majority are detained on short-term sentences. However, the impact of even short-term imprisonment on these women and their families is profound. The economic and social costs to society at large arising from the imprisonment of women are also significant.
In 2018, there were 1,005 female committals, compared to 155 female committals in 1999. The rate of female prison committals has risen more rapidly than for males since 2011. In addition, there continues to be significant numbers of women imprisoned for failing to pay court-ordered fines, despite the Fines (Payment and Recovery Act) 2014 which came into operation in January 2016. In 2018, 10% of female committals to prison were for non-payment of court-ordered fines – twice that of the comparable figure of men.
Major concerns remain in relation to overcrowding in both of the country’s female prisons – the Dóchas Centre and a female wing in Limerick Prison. The detention of women for immigration-related reasons is also a concern for IPRT. IPRT remains committed to working towards major policy change in relation to imprisonment of women in Ireland, with a central focus on the provision of alternatives to detention and open prison provision for women.
31st October 2018
The APPG on Women in the Penal System has published a report on its inquiry into the sentencing of women.
1st October 2018
IPRT made a submission to the UN Working Group on women deprived of liberty, focusing on women deprived of their liberty in the criminal justice system in Ireland.
6th August 2018
The Irish Times has published an article and an editorial detailing the sharp increase in Ireland’s prison population in 2018, following years of decline and stability.
13th July 2018
Newstalk's Simon Tierney reports from the Dóchas Centre on the issues facing women and mothers in prison in Ireland.
9th July 2018
‘What about me?’ is essential research conducted by the Prison Reform Trust, detailing the impact on children when mothers are involved in the criminal justice system.
19th June 2018
The Prison Reform Trust (PRT) and Women in Prison (WiP) have published a report entitled ‘Home truths: housing for women in the criminal justice system'.
8th May 2018
UK charity INQUEST published their report into deaths in women's prisons on the 1st May 2018.
4th December 2017
Prison Reform Trust (2017) “There’s a reason we’re in trouble” Domestic abuse as a driver to women’s offending.
9th November 2017
The Institute for Criminal Research published the fourth edition of the World Female Imprisonment List, providing a comprehensive report on the number of women and girls in penal institutions worldwide.