IPRT advocates for a national penal policy that is just and humane, promotes effective non-custodial responses to crime and uses prison as a last resort.
Our vision is for Irish penal policy that focuses on non-custodial responses to crime and has rehabilitation and social reintegration at its core. We believe that the emphasis of our penal system needs to move towards diverting young offenders and at risk groups away from offending behaviour at the entry points to the penal system.
We work towards securing long-term commitment to a coherent, evidence-informed, and effective penal policy, underpinned by international best practice. Effectiveness in this context is taken to mean the approaches to offending behaviour which reduce the risk of re-offending and which are seen to have the greatest social and economic benefits while minimising potential social and economic harm.
Key issues for IPRT in relation to the development of Irish penal policy over recent years have included highlighting the rapid expansion of our prison population from 2007 to 2011 (and again in 2018 and 2019) and promoting alternatives to custody through research, advocacy and policy work.
We also engage in public and political debate around crime and punishment to build more informed debate and counteract the demonization of offenders. Some of our media appearances are detailed here.
24th September 2021
A new report from the House of Commons Justice Committee analyses the impact Covid-19 had on the criminal justice system in England and Wales, and in particular details the lessons that can be learned from how Covid offences were created and enforced during the pandemic.
22nd September 2021
This article conducts a meta-analysis of various studies that seek to find a correlation between custodial sanctions (imprisonment) and reoffending rates. The authors found that no matter what variables were considered, there was always either a null or criminogenic effect of imprisonment on reoffending, and therefore “the limited effects of custodial sanctions on reoffending should be viewed as a criminological fact.”
20th April 2021
The Interagency Group focuses on analysing the nature of the problems faced by people when released from custody and how better interagency cooperation could assist in their reintegration into the community. The Group's third Annual Report outlines areas of progress and areas of concern.
2nd April 2021
IPRT and Mental Health Reform welcome the joint announcement by the Ministers for Justice and Health, and Ministers of State with responsibility for mental health and the national drugs strategy, of the establishment of a High Level Taskforce to consider the mental health and addiction challenges of persons interacting with the criminal justice system.
12th March 2021
A guest blog post from academic researchers Dr. Ian D. Marder (Maynooth University) and Dr. Eoin Guilfoyle (University of Bristol) on the principles that might underpin sentencing guidelines in Ireland.
22nd February 2021
Justice Plan 2021 is the first of a series of annual plans which the Minister will introduce to drive reforms across the Justice Sector. Each year, the Plan will be updated with new actions and timelines for delivery. IPRT welcomes this transparency.
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.
25th January 2021
PRESS RELEASE: Improvements made during pandemic threatened by risk of return to ‘old normal’ according to PIPS 2020 report.
17th November 2020
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has published statistics on three-year reoffending (recidivism) for those sentenced to probation in 2014, in conjunction with one-year reoffending rates for the years 2008-2016.
31st August 2020
The Law Reform Commission has published a 'Report on Suspended Sentences'. The report examines the legislation and the principles that underpin the operation of suspended sentences in Ireland and makes a number of proposals as to how the suspended sentence might be used more effectively.