Irish Penal Reform Trust

Migrants & Ethnic Minorities

The disproportionate representation of migrants and ethnic minorities in criminal justice systems across the globe is well documented. In Ireland, there has been some research on the rights and experience of migrants and ethnic minorities at policing and sentencing stages, and the over-representation of minority ethnic groups in the prison system has been highlighted to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. However, broader issues of racial and ethnic equality in the penal system remain under-explored in an Irish context, particularly in terms of accessing rights and accessing justice.

In 2020, IPRT was awarded funding from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) to pursue a research and awareness-raising campaign focused on the rights and experiences of migrants and ethnic minorities in the penal system in Ireland. 

UK: Reporting on Equalities in Prisons

6th September 2021

Analysis of IMB monitoring reports uncovered some inconsistencies and significant gaps in how IMBs report on equalities in prisons, primarily with respect to the number of equalities areas that are being reported on and the depth of reporting in these areas.

UK: A Record of Our Own - Lockdown Experiences of Ethnic Minority Prisoners

31st March 2021

This report by the Zahid Mubarek Trust (ZMT), in partnership with POPS and the Traveller Movement is an account of the challenges faced by minority ethnic prisoners in prison in England and Wales because of the lockdown measures employed by the prison authorities to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in prisons.

Uncovering anti‑Roma discrimination in criminal justice systems in Europe

29th March 2021

Fair Trials have published a report that focuses on Roma over-representation in the criminal justice systems in Romania, Spain, Hungary and Bulgaria. The findings from this report suggest that racist and anti-gypsyist views are normalised and imbedded within the criminal justice systems of the countries mentioned above.

Guest article: Exploring the rights and experiences of migrant and minority ethnic groups in the penal system in Ireland

25th March 2021

In this guest article, researchers from The Department of Law at Maynooth University write about the context for their research as part of IPRT’s upcoming ‘Access to Rights and Justice’ project.

UK: Disparities in youth diversion – an evidence review

27th January 2021

This literature review by the Centre for Justice Innovation explores how youth diversion can contribute to keeping children and young people out of the formal criminal justice system but, if access to diversion is unequal, it can exacerbate racial inequality in criminal justice outcomes for young people.

UK: Ethnic disproportionality in remand and sentencing in the youth justice system

22nd January 2021

This large-scale study finds that Black, Asian and other Minority Ethnic children are less likely to get a formal out-of-court disposal than other children, among other findings

Invitation to Tender: Access to Rights & Justice for Migrants and Ethnic Minority People in the Penal System

30th November 2020

IPRT is now inviting tenders for the research and production of a report examining the rights and experiences of migrants and ethnic minorities in the penal system in Ireland.

HM Inspectorate of Prisons: Minority ethnic prisoners’ experiences of rehabilitation and release planning

5th November 2020

The report found, among other issues, that ehnic identity’s influence on rehabilitation is underestimated – one-third of interviewed BME prisoners reported their ethnicity had directly influenced their experience of rehabilitation and release planning.

Rights and justice for migrants, foreign nationals, and ethnic minorities in the penal system

19th October 2020

We are pleased to announce that IPRT is one of 42 recipients of the Human Rights and Equality Grant 2020-21.

IPRT Submission to the Joint Committee on Key Issues affecting the Traveller Community

6th August 2019

This short submission primarily focuses on mental health issues affecting Travellers in the prison system

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



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