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.
18th June 2020
The Council of Europe and the University of Lausanne launched this special SPACE I COVID-19 project in order to measure and better understand the impacts of the pandemic on the prison population in member states.
4th June 2020
People detained prior to the pandemic have seen their rights restricted further and are exposed to greater health risks. This new practical guidance from the APT and ODIHR details how these who monitor places of detention can continue their monitoring functions during COVID-19.
27th May 2020
This Children of Prisoners Europe (COPE) webinar featured a series of insightful presentations, subsequent questions and discussion about the challenges that the pandemic presents for prisons, and in particular for prisoners and their families.
21st May 2020
IPRT Executive Director Fíona Ní Chinnéide presented at an International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO) webinar on the impacts of COVID-19 in prisons in Ireland.
18th May 2020
Custody is a damaging environment for children in normal times, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, conditions in custody have worsened for imprisoned children. The Howard League has produced guidance for legal practitioners on how to keep unsentenced children out of pre-trial detention.
13th May 2020
UN agencies have issued a joint statement on COVID-19 in closed settings to draw attention to the increased vulnerability of those deprived of their liberty. The human rights-led statement focuses on strategies which are crucial to protecting those in places of detention from COVID-19.
8th May 2020
Minister Flanagan has launched a new service allowing families to lodge money for their relative in prison at any Post Office counter in the country.
5th May 2020
HM Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland has now developed an adapted methodology to inspection and monitoring, resulting in a Remote Monitoring Framework and Liaison Visits Framework, which will allow for the continued safe visitation to prisons and other settings, ensuring human rights are upheld.
30th April 2020
In this submission, IPRT sets out a number of proposed measures to be taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to minimise its impact on the whole prison community.
29th April 2020
On 29th April 2020, IPRT co-hosted an international online seminar on ‘Human Rights & Detention in the time of COVID-19: UK and Ireland’.
Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.