Irish Penal Reform Trust

Penal Policy

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.  

Justice Plan 2021 and Department of Justice Strategy Statement 2021-2023

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.

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.

Probation recidivism 2014 cohort

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.

Law Reform Commission publishes Report on Suspended Sentences

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.

High rates of reoffending following imprisonment for less serious crime demands alternative response – IPRT

5th August 2020

MEDIA ADVISORY: New figures published by the Central Statistics Office find that 55.2% of people released from prison in 2014 reoffended within 3 years. Nearly 80% of those aged under 21 when they were committed to prison reoffended within three years of being released, and 75% of people imprisoned for public order offences reoffended within three years. Reoffending rates remain too high and this demands alternative.responses

Dramatic increase in prison committals points to policy failures that must be addressed – IPRT

15th June 2020

MEDIA ADVISORY: The Irish Prison Service Annual Report 2019 shows a significant increase of people committed to prison in Ireland in 2019, including a 21% increase in the number of committals for sentences of less than 12 months and a worrying increase in committals for the non-payment of court-ordered fines.

Irish Prison Service Annual Report 2019

15th June 2020

IPRT outlines some of the key stats in Irish Prison Service Annual Report 2019 and how they compare to 2018.

‘Our Shared Future’ – Draft Programme for Government 2020+

15th June 2020

IPRT strongly welcomes many of the proposals in the draft Programme for Government. In particular, we welcome that the document reflects all of the five recommendations IPRT campaigned on in advance of the 2020 General Election.

New project: IPRT Children and Families Initiative

21st May 2020

IPRT is excited to announce that we are embarking on a new three-year project on families of prisoners, aiming to reduce harm for children and families affected by imprisonment, with a particular focus...

Our work is supported by

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

Subscribe

Legal

Contact us

This website uses cookies to provide a good browsing experience

Some are necessary to help our website work properly and can't be switched off, and some are optional. Click on "Choose cookies" below for more information on the cookies being used on this website. Please note that based on your settings, not all functions of the website may be available. You can manage your preferences by visiting “Cookie preferences" at the bottom of any page.

This website uses cookies to provide a good browsing experience

Some are necessary to help our website work properly and can't be switched off, and some are optional. Please choose the cookies to allow below. Please note that based on your settings, not all functions of the website may be available. You can manage your preferences by visiting “Cookie preferences" at the bottom of any page.

Your cookie preferences have been saved.