Irish Penal Reform Trust

Mental Health

Mental illness in the context of prison must be viewed as a health issue requiring an effective and prompt health intervention, including diversion to appropriate treatment services outside prison. However, people with mental health issues continue to enter the prison system due to a lack of access to appropriate mental health services in the community.

This section includes posts on issues relating to mental health in prison and the wider criminal justice system. If you are looking for general health-related information, click here.

IPRT welcomes UN Human Rights Committee’s clear focus on key human rights issues impacting people in prison

27th July 2022

MEDIA RELEASE: IPRT welcomed the clear focus by the UN Human Rights Committee on issues pertaining to people deprived of their liberty including prison overcrowding, access to adequate mental healthcare, the failure to publish reports relating to the Dóchas Centre, the overrepresentation of Travellers in the penal system and the need to ratify OPCAT.

Ireland’s human rights record to come under the spotlight at UN hearing – IPRT

3rd July 2022

MEDIA RELEASE: IPRT will ask the UN Human Rights Committee to question State officials on how Ireland is meeting its human rights obligations to people in prison, as part of the State’s fifth review under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

IPRT Submission to Pre-Legislative Scrutiny of the Mental Health (Amendment) Bill

22nd April 2022

IPRT welcomed the opportunity to make a brief submission to the Sub-Committee on Mental Health regarding its role in conducting Pre-Legislative Scrutiny on the Mental Health (Amendment) Bill.

IPRT appears before Joint Committee on Justice to discuss rehabilitation within prison

29th March 2022

IPRT Senior Policy and Research Officer Sarahjane McCreery and IPRT Acting Executive Director Molly Joyce appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee as part of an examination of rehabilitative opportunities within the prison system.

Minister for Justice publishes Justice Plan 2022

28th March 2022

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee TD has published Justice Plan 2022, outlining 159 actions to continue building a justice system that works for everyone.

Sharing the Vision: A Mental Health Policy for Everyone Implementation Plan 2022 – 2024

24th March 2022

Minister for Mental Health and Older People Mary Butler has, in conjunction with the HSE, launched Sharing the Vision: Implementation Plan 2022 - 2024. Several of the recommendations in the Strategy and the corresponding Implementation Plan relate to improving outcomes for people in contact with the justice system with mental health challenges.

Visiting Committee Annual Reports 2020

9th March 2022

IPRT notes the publication of the first Visiting Committee reports that relate to the pandemic period.

Criminal Justice Sectoral Strategy 2022 – 2024

7th March 2022

The purpose of this first ever Criminal Justice Sectoral Strategy is to develop a shared vision for a more joined-up criminal justice system.

IPRT Submission to the Joint Committee on Justice on rehabilitative opportunities within the prison system

4th March 2022

This submission discusses key rehabilitative supports, services and resources in prisons and makes 13 recommendations for change.

Irish Penal Reform Trust notes areas of regression in the penal system over five years

7th February 2022

MEDIA ADVISORY: In publishing the fifth edition of PIPS, IPRT finds that the penal system – in some key areas of practice – has regressed over the last five years. We called for reforms in custodial sentencing policy so that prison is used as a last resort.

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

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