Irish Penal Reform Trust

Human Rights in Prison

IPRT promotes a penal system that is: humane as experienced by people who are detained, protects and promotes human rights and equality, and strives to achieve international best practice in formal regimes, daily practices and overall culture.

It is the sentence of deprivation of liberty in itself that is the core punitive sanction, the conditions and treatment while in prison should not be used as additional punishment.

Accordingly, we believe that while restrictions on the freedom of movement are necessarily introduced while in prison, prisoners should retain all other rights to the greatest possible degree while serving their sentences. In particular, IPRT believes that prisoners have the right to be treated with dignity and respect for their rights; they have the right to safety and security of the person, the right to be treated humanely and be free from torture, degrading or inhuman treatment or punishment.

We work to ensure that regimes in prisons and children detention facilities are humane, and reflect human rights standards as a minimum in the short term, striving for international best practice in the medium to long term.

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.

National Development Plan 2021 – 2030: Prisons

4th October 2021

Upgrades in prison infrastructure in the NDP include plans to provide additional capacity at open centres and to end slopping out in E Bock in Portlaoise.

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.

IPRT Submission to Initial State Report under the UN CRPD 2021

6th April 2021

This submission outlines gaps in the State's Initial Report under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and makes recommendations for strengthening the State's Initial Report. This submission draws heavily on the findings of IPRT's 'Making Rights Real' report.

IPRT Submission to Ireland's third UN Universal Periodic Review

25th March 2021

The IPRT submission to the UN UPR focuses on the protection and promotion of human rights in Irish prisons and Oberstown Child Detention Campus. The submission also examines rights issues arising from Covid-19 and related restrictions.

Prison Law Seminar: The Prison Rules

25th February 2021

The Irish Penal Reform Trust and the Irish Criminal Bar Association hosted a seminar on The Prison Rules: Current Impact and Opportunities for Reform online on Thursday 25th February 2021 at 4pm, via Zoom. 

Know Your Rights: Your Rights as a Prisoner

25th February 2021

This booklet aims to help prisoners understand the rights they have while in prison. It is written in everyday language and is informative and easy to use.

Progress in the Penal System: Assessing progress during a pandemic (2020)

26th January 2021

The fourth edition of Progress in the Penal System necessarily took a different approach than in previous years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 experience highlights positive and timely change is possible in Ireland’s prison system - IPRT

25th January 2021

PRESS RELEASE: Improvements made during pandemic threatened by risk of return to ‘old normal’ according to PIPS 2020 report.

List of issues for Ireland’s Fifth Periodic Examination under the ICCPR published

10th December 2020

The UN Human Rights Committee has published its list of issues in relation to the fifth periodic report of Ireland under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

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



Contact us

  • Tel: 01 874 1400
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