Irish Penal Reform Trust

IPRT Submission to the Draft State Report to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

10th November 2021

IPRT welcomed the opportunity to make a submission on the State’s Draft Combined Fifth and Sixth State Report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), in preparation for the final report due in February 2022.

The submission invites the Department to closely consider the key findings and recommendations of IPRT’s Piecing It Together: Supporting Children and Families with a Family Member in Prison in Ireland report before finalising the State Report. The submission (available in full below), outlines gaps in the State’s Draft Report, as it relates to children with a parent or caregiver in prison in Ireland.

In the final report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the State should:

  • acknowledge children with a family member in prison as a cohort with a distinct set of rights and needs, and address this group of children individually throughout the final State Report;
  • acknowledge the negative impact of prison measures taken during COVID-19 on children with a family member in prison and outline what measures were taken (and will be taken) to reduce this negative impact and resume family visits as quickly as possible;
  • outline what measures were taken, or what measures are intended to be taken, to improve the collection and quality of data on the number of children with a family member in prison in Ireland; outline what measures were taken, or what measures are intended to be taken, to raise awareness of the issues faced by children with a family member in prison in Ireland in order to reduce the stigmatisation, social exclusion and discrimination of this cohort of children;
  • outline what measures are taken to ensure that the best interests of the child are considered in the sentencing of a primary caregiver in Ireland; and
  • outline what measures are taken to ensure that the views of the child are heard, represented and respected in sentencing decisions relating to a primary caregiver in Ireland.

IPRT reiterates the importance of incorporation of the UNCRC into Irish law and recommends that the State provide a clear timeline for such incorporation within the final report submitted.

Read the submission in full here.

November 2021
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Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.

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