Prison Census Reports January 2022
2nd March 2022
The January 2022 Prison Population Census reports have been published by the Irish Prison Service. The reports detail information about Restricted Regimes and Cell Occupancy and In-cell Sanitation.
IPRT is increasingly concerned about the high number of people being held on restricted regimes, as well as the staggering number of people on 24-hour lock-up. The total number of people on restricted regimes and the total number of people held on 24-hour lock-up are the highest – at 982 and 253 respectively – of all data published in Census reports since the beginning of the pandemic.
Key points from the January 2022 Census reports:
- The Restricted Regimes Census notes that the number of prisoners on restricted regimes was 982 – an increase of 225 compared to October 2021 (757), an increase of 30%. This means that on the day the Census was taken, approx. 1 in 4 people in prison in Ireland were subject to some form of restricted regime.
- The number of prisoners on 24-hour lock-up was 253 – an increase of 233 compared to October 2021 (20).
- The total number of people subjected to solitary confinement (22+ hours in cell) was 686. This represents a substantial increase (95%) from the total figure of 351 in October 2021.
- People on restricted regimes for reasons relating to COVID-19 (Rule 103) (471 people) amounted to 48% of all people held on restricted regimes.
- With regards to the Cell Occupancy and In-cell Sanitation Census, 1,694 prisoners (45%) were required to use the toilet in the presence of another prisoner. This is largely in line with recent Census figures.
- 36 prisoners (1%) were required to slop out. This is a welcome slight decrease from October 2021 (from 38), and a continued overall decline from numbers in recent years. We hope this downward trend will be sustained further towards the total elimination of the practice of slopping out in Irish prisons.
When interpreting Irish Prison Service Census data, it is important to remember that this data is a snapshot only and does not capture trends or day to day fluctuations, or minimum and maximum values throughout the period of restrictions.
There is currently no data published on the lengths of time people are subjected to solitary confinement in Ireland. While IPRT has been calling for the publication of this information for many years, we most recently reiterated our concerns about this lack of data in Progress in the Penal System: The need for transparency (2021) – see Standard 26, pp.60-64.
All Prison Population Census Reports are available on the Irish Prison Service website here.