Irish Penal Reform Trust

Accountability

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.

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.

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.

Office of the Inspector of Prisons Strategic Plan 2020-2023

12th January 2021

The Strategy sets out the vision for the Inspectorate from 2020 until the end of 2023, identifying the actions required to realise these.

Prison Chaplain Annual Reports 2019

4th January 2021

The Prison Chaplain Annual Reports for 2019 have been published by the Irish Prison Service. Most of these reports cover the 2019 calendar year, with some of the reports covering the period up to March...

IPRT statement on a death in Cloverhill Prison

29th September 2020

It is understood through media reports that the deceased became unresponsive following the use of control and restraint techniques by a number of prison staff. While the Office of the Inspector of Prisons will investigate the death, IPRT underlines that robust procedures, resources and a legislative basis must be in place to enable the Inspector of Prisons carry out these investigations effectively.

Reported Treatment of Prisoners and Chaplaincy in Dóchas Centre Alarming

25th September 2020

MEDIA ADVISORY: A joint statement from the Irish Penal Reform Trust and the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice in response to reports in the national press about the culture and environment endured by female prisoners and staff in the Dóchas Centre at Mountjoy.

Independence of prison inspections must be supported in legislation and resourcing – IPRT

15th September 2020

MEDIA ADVISORY: The Irish Penal Reform Trust has welcomed the launch of ‘Inspection Framework for Prisons in Ireland’ by the Minister for Justice Ms Helen McEntee TD, but called for increased resourcing of the Office of the Inspector of Prisons, and for laws that allow the Inspector of Prisons to publish reports directly and not through the Minister for Justice.

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

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