On average, women make up around 4.3% 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 2019, there were 1,174 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 2019, 16.7% of female committals to prison were for non-payment of court-ordered fines – almost 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.
29th July 2013
The ACJRD has published a new report on research conducted with female prisoners serving short sentences in the Dóchas Centre.
27th March 2013
UK Justice Minister, Helen Grant, has published a report outlining her key priorities and strategic objectives for female offenders.
13th March 2013
Women in Prison have published a report on the women’s custodial estate in the UK from 2011-2012, showing that little has fundamentally changed in the approach to women in prison since the publication of Baroness Jean Corston’s report in 2007.
27th February 2013
Mental health charity Together has launched a new common sense guide that offers criminal justice staff the tools to ensure women’s health and well-being needs are not missed.
22nd February 2013
Penal Reform International (PRI) criticised the CEDAW Committee's focus on women as victims, overlooking the rights of female defendants
26th November 2012
Today the Prison Reform Trust in the UK launched a YouGov opinion poll which appears to demonstrate strong support for the use of health measures as an effective way to tackle women’s offending. The results coincide with the launch of PRT's own new strategy for reforming women's justice.
17th September 2012
A week long Special 'Independent' investigation on mothers in prison.
20th August 2012
Report by Howard League for Penal Reform suggests girls are 'pigeon-holed into a criminal justice system designed for the male majority'.
14th August 2012
Prison Reform International provides a checklist and guidelines for policy makers and practitioners in relation to UN Bangkok Rules.