28th September 2020
[Update 07/10/2020: the information below relates to the situation while Ireland was on Level 2 of the Government’s Plan for Living with COVID-19. Ireland has since moved to Level 3.]
While IPRT welcomed the return of physical visits (on a phased basis) from late July, we remained concerned that visits in all phases to date have lasted for a maximum of 15 minutes.
In support of the rights of prisoners and their families, and in recognition of the challenges faced by families in travelling long distances for such a short visit, IPRT wrote to the Irish Prison Service and requested that the duration of physical visits be increased from 15 minutes, where practicable. We are pleased to note that the duration of visits has been increased to 20 minutes. This is a positive step in the right direction, but we hope that this and other aspects of the visiting regime will remain under constant review, with a view to increasing and expanding measures where public health advice allows.
This decision was made as the Irish Prison Service moves to Phase 3 of the restoration of physical visits plan. During this Phase, a maximum of 2 visitors are allowed per prisoner, which can comprise of 2 adults or 1 adult and 1 child.
It is important to note that this applies only to prisons outside of Dublin, and to visitors departing from a non-Dublin and non-Donegal location. For those in Dublin prisons and those departing from Dublin or Donegal, a restriction on prison is in force for as long as these counties remain at level three or higher of the Government’s Plan for Living with COVID-19.
IPRT is continuing to engage with all stakeholders on the gradual and proportionate reduction of COVID-19-related restrictions in prisons.
For more up-to-date information on changes to prison visiting, particularly as different counties move to different stages in the Plan for Living with COVID-19. visit irishprisons.ie
Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.