Irish Penal Reform Trust


IPRT campaigns for the positive transformation of systems of accountability and governance of the penal system in the area of inspection, complaints and monitoring.

We believe that structures and practices which support better accountability in the penal system should be introduced. These structures and mechanisms include: a properly resourced independent prisoner complaints system such as the Ombudsman; the introduction of domestic legislation to achieve the ratification of OPCAT; the strengthening of the Office of Inspector of Prisons and reform of the Prison Visiting Committees; and the establishment of a fully independent Prisons Authority on a statutory basis.

IPRT continues to articulate and promote a deeper appreciation of the concept and benefits of accountability in the penal system among relevant stakeholders.

IPRT presentation to Universal Periodic Review (UPR) pre-session

7th October 2021

IPRT was one of the civil society organisations chosen to make a statement at the pre-session meeting of Ireland’s UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on 7th October 2021.

Penal Reform International: Short Guide to the European Prison Rules

27th September 2021

In this short guide, the key requirements of the European Prison Rules are highlighted by Penal Reform International, with an asterisk (*) placed next to any rule that was brought in after the 2020 revision.

First prison inspection reports since the outset of the pandemic published – IPRT

3rd August 2021

MEDIA ADVISORY: Prison inspection reports warn that while restrictions in Irish prisons have limited the spread of COVID-19, a “sense of complacency” could be setting in across prisons, with the Office of the Inspector of Prisons voicing concerns that increased restrictions risk becoming “the new norm”.

Annual report on prisons shows some positives, but robust oversight is lacking – IPRT

30th July 2021

MEDIA ADVISORY: In response to this Annual Report, IPRT is calling for the Minister for Justice to publish all completed COVID-19 Thematic Prison Inspection reports and for the Irish Prison Service to publish prison census data.

UK: HM Inspectorate of Prisons publishes Annual Report 2020-21

20th July 2021

HM Inspectorate of Prisons has released its annual report on prisons in England and Wales for the year 2020-21, covering the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Chief Inspector Charlie Taylor acknowledged that, for those living and working in prisons, this had been “a year like no other”.

Prison Chaplain Annual Reports 2020

5th July 2021

Common concerns were raised across these reports. These related primarily to COVID-19 and related restrictions, the numbers and treatment of people with mental health issues being held in prison, and insufficient staffing/resourcing of the Chaplaincy Service.

Office of the Inspector of Prisons COVID-19 Staff Survey: Initial Findings

2nd July 2021

The Office of the Inspector of Prisons (OIP) has published preliminary results from its COVID-19 Staff Survey, developed to capture prison staff experiences of working during the pandemic.

Urgent action needed on reform of prison complaints system, following third successive year of being classed as “unfit for purpose” by Inspector

11th June 2021

MEDIA ADVISORY: IPRT's response to the Office of the Inspector of Prisons Annual Report 2020. The Annual Report details a number of significant concerns about the current operation of the prison complaints system and repeats the view, similarly expressed in several previous reports, that the system is “unfit for purpose”.

UK: What Happens to Prisoners in a Pandemic

12th February 2021

This thematic review by HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) explores the effects of the restrictions introduced in prisons in England and Wales during 2020 in response to COVID-19.

Visiting Committee Annual Reports 2019

18th January 2021

Common issues echoed across various Visiting Committee annual reports for 2019 include: overcrowding, the use and impact of restricted regimes, visiting, the closure of schools/workshops due to staffing levels, and concerning levels of unmet mental health needs across the prison estate.

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



Contact us

  • Tel: 01 874 1400
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