Irish Penal Reform Trust


The work of IPRT is led by a number of standards developed by international bodies, organisations and courts in relation to imprisonment and wider issues of the State’s penal policy. In particular, our work is based on the commitment to implement in Ireland a human rights-based approach to penal policy.

With this in mind, IPRT’s research, policy and awareness-raising campaigns are developed to support and monitor the implementation in the context of penal policy in Ireland of the United Nations and Council of Europe standards.

The IPRT is also committed to the promotion of best practice examples that have proved effective in other jurisdictions. To this end, we aim to provide a comprehensive library of good practices that can be accessed and used by practitioners, academics, prisoners, and anyone else interested in penal reform and penal policy. The Library is updated on a regular basis to take into account most recent developments in this area.

UK: Justice Committee publishes report on disclosure of youth criminal records

27th October 2017

The current system for disclosure of youth criminal records undermines the principles of the youth justice system, says the Justice Committee in a new report published today, 27 October 2017.

Stop Solitary for Kids Compile a List of Resources on US State Legislation and Cases

24th August 2017

Stop Solitary for Kids is a website that highlights developments in particular States within the United States of America (USA) that have passed legislation that aim to limit the use of solitary confinement for children in detention. Currently 18 out of the 51 States in the U.S.A have either developed or are currently developing legislation reducing the use of solitary confinement for children.

UK Report (2017) highlights ‘family ties at the heart of prison reform.’

10th August 2017

Lord Farmer’s report (2017) The Importance of Strengthening Prisoners' Family Ties to Prevent Reoffending and Reduce Intergenerational Crime was undertaken in collaboration with the charity Clinks and commissioned by the UK government. The report aimed to establish a link between a prisoner’s relationship with family and a reduction in reoffending. The report was part of the government’s strategy to overhaul prison policy, and according to Lord Farmer it is intended to be one of the biggest overhauls in a generation. The report was commissioned to act as a point of reference for the Secretary of State as he “rolls out the wider reform programme”.

Juvenile Law Center Launch Report: Unlocking Youth Legal Strategies to End Solitary Confinement in Juvenile Facilities

2nd August 2017

The Juvenile Law Center in their latest report (2017) highlight the issues facing children and young adults in detention who are subjected to solitary confinement. In this report the authors address issues such as the impact solitary confinement can have on the cognitive, social and emotional development of those subjected to solitary confinement during their developmental years. They also highlight the correlation between cognitive development and behaviour labelled as challenging, as well as the impact deprivation of social inclusion can have on the ability to recover from solitary confinement post-release.

UK: The Howard League for Penal Reform and the Transition to Adulthood (T2A), 'Judging Maturity: exploring the role of maturity in the sentencing of young adults'

18th July 2017

A new Report by The Howard League for Penal Reform and the Transition to Adulthood (T2A) Alliance calls on sentencing council to work towards developing formal sentencing principles for young adults, similar to the principles that are already in place for sentencing children.

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales Publishes Annual Report 2016-2017

18th July 2017

The Inspector’s report analyses the positives and the negatives occurring in the previous year by highlighting issues that appear in the 86 individual inspection reports on prisons, police custody suites, immigration removal centres and other custodial establishments published by the Inspectorate throughout the year 2016-2017.

Prisons and Probation Ombudsman Publishes Annual Report 2016-2017

13th July 2017

The Ombudsman’s report highlights the figures relating to fatal incidents occurring in the last year across the various places of detention and organisations that come under the remit of the Ombudsman’s office. The report outlines some of the necessary steps that need to be taken in relation to risk assessment, suggesting that the assessment (ACCT) should comprise of more than just the prisoner’s representation but also consist of professional evaluation. The consequence of not having a robust ACCT evaluation can result in inadequate service provision. Specific issues such as provisions for prisoners with mental health needs, drugs and the rise in the use of new psychoactive drugs, as well as the effects of segregation are outlined by the Ombudsman in relation to fatal incidents in places of detention.

Penal Reform International Annual Report 2016

5th July 2017

Penal Reform International (PRI) have launched their Annual Report for 2016. This Annual Report reflects the progress have made in the past year with reference to their Strategic Plan 2015-2020:

UK:'PPO's learning lessons bulletin: Older Prisoners'

26th June 2017

The Probation & Prisons Ombudsman of England and Wales, Nigel Newcomen, launched his latest ‘Learning Lessons Bulletin’, which offers insights and recommendations to the prison service with regards to dealing with older prisoners.

Scotland: Families Outside Report on National Framework for Prison Visitors’ Centres in Scotland

19th June 2017

Families Outside have recently published their report on the National Performance Framework for Prison Visitors’ Centres in Scotland. In 2015 the Scottish Government announced that it would be providing £1.8 million over a three-year period to assist the work of Prison Visitor Centres. Any Prison Visitor Centre seeking funding from the Scottish Government will now be required to demonstrate that they can meet the standards set out in this National Performance Framework.

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



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