The COVID-19 crisis is an unprecedented national public health situation for our communities and all society. This includes the men and women currently detained in Irish prisons, the 3,300 people who work in our prisons, and the families of both prisoners and staff on the outside. Given the high number of older people (15% of sentenced prisoners), the higher prevalence of poor health among prison populations, and the existing burden on prison healthcare services, COVID-19 could have devastating consequences for the prison community.
You can find resources and international perspectives below, as well as statements from IPRT and updates on our work. IPRT's core submission on COVID-19 in Irish prisons, based on international evidence and standards, is available to read here (April 2020). Our updated submission, following a year of pandemic-related restrictions in prisons, is available here (April 2021).
If you have questions about the work being undertaken in Irish prisons to control the spread of COVID-19, visit the Irish Prison Service website. If you have a family member in prison and are seeking support, there are services that can offer assistance here.
6th August 2021
The Census Reports show a worrying increase in the number of people held in solitary confinement, but a welcome increase in the number of people accommodated in single cells.
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”.
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.
29th July 2021
One of the main focuses of the Annual Report is on the response of the Probation Service to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
20th July 2021
The Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS) has re-introduced contact between parents and children under 11. This follows the resumption of in-person prison visits in Northern Ireland on 4 May.
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”.
15th July 2021
MEDIA ADVISORY: New report on children and families with a family member in prison in Ireland highlights a number of significant gaps in their treatment.
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.
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.
24th June 2021
The Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT) has published new advice to States parties and national preventive mechanisms relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.