Irish Penal Reform Trust

Ebulletin #73

2nd December 2013

In this edition:

  1. Introduction
  2. Re-designing the Pattern: Women in the Criminal Justice System
  3. Changes at IPRT
  4. Sustainability of IPRT
  5. IPRT Internship Programme


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Just a short ebulletin from IPRT this month as we have seen much change in recent months, including an office move and a reduction in staff. We are also in the midst of what promises to be a very exciting seminar event on the morning of Wed 4th Dec: Re-designing the Pattern: Women and the Criminal Justice system. A small number of places remain - find out more below!


IPRT Seminar: Re-designing the Pattern - Women and the Criminal Justice System

IPRT is holding a half-day seminar event focusing on community-based responses to offending by women on Wednesday, 4th December 2013 in the Wood Quay Venue, Wood Quay, Dublin 8. The seminar will explore alternative, non-custodial responses to offending by women that address the wide-ranging and often complex needs of women offenders and that reduce recidivism rates among women.

IPRT is delighted to announce that as part of the event, Minister of State with responsibility for Disability, Older People, Equality & Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch TD will launch a new IPRT paper, Women and the Criminal Justice System - Towards a Non-Custodial Approach.The event will be chaired by Siobhán O'Donoghue, Chair of the National Women's Council of Ireland (and Director, MRCI).Speakers include:

  • Scotland: Prof Gill McIvor of the University of Stirling, who will speak on recent developments in addressing offending by women in Scotland including the Commission on Women Offenders.
  • England & Wales: Sarah Anderson, Director of Research and Development, Revolving Doors (London) 
  • Northern Ireland: Jean O’Neill, Area manager, Inspire Women’s Project, Northern Ireland Probation Service.
  • Ireland: Dr Mary Rogan, Chair of IPRT

Respondents include:

  • Mary O’Connor, Governor of the Dóchas Centre, Irish Prison Service
  • Suzanne Vella, Director of Operations, The Probation Service 
  • Ailish Glennon, Senior Probation Officer, The Probation Service
Event details:
  • When? Wednesday 4th December 2013
  • Where? Wood Quay Venue, Wood Quay, Dublin 8.
  • What time? Registrations from 9.15am; event begins 9.45am; event closes 12.45am.

Registrations:Attendance at the seminar is free but only a limited number of places remain. To reserve your place, please contact 01-8741400 or or register online


Changes at IPRT

There has been much change at IPRT HQ in recent months, not least our move to our new offices in the MACRO Community Building on 1 Green Street (off Nth King Street), Dublin 7 where we continue to enjoy fine views over Dublin 7.

In November, we were sad to say goodbye to two members of the IPRT staff team. Office Manager Mary Gaffney finished work with IPRT on 8th November, after more than 4.5 years with IPRT. During her time with IPRT, Mary played a central role in establishing IPRT's relationships and networks, and was the first contact many people had with the organisation.

We were also sorry to say goodbye to Jane Mulcahy, who worked with IPRT for three years as Research & Policy Officer. Among many projects and submissions, Jane's work was key to our highly successful CPT, UNCAT and UPR human rights engagement during 2011/12, which brought about much positive change. Both Jane and Mary will be greatly missed.

We also thanked Liza Costello who worked with IPRT as Research & Policy Officer (Maternity Leave) from July to the end of November 2013. Among a number of different projects, Liza worked on a discreet project looking at the particular experiences of members of the Travelling Community in prison in Ireland, a project which is funded by the St Stephen's Green Trust. We look forward to launching the final report in the New Year.

In September, we welcomed back Kate O'Hara to the IPRT Office as employment-based PhD student. Kate commenced her doctoral studies in conjunction with IPRT and Dublin Institute of Technology in March 2013. Her project entitled "Community service orders versus short custodial sentences: Examining risk, recidivism and need" is funded by IPRT and The Irish Research Council, as part of their employment-based postgraduate scholarship scheme. The project will investigate the range and effectiveness of alternatives to short-term prison sentences available in Ireland, and internationally. Kate worked as intern with IPRT from Feb to June 2010, and has continued to volunteer and support IPRT ever since. We are delighted to have her back in an official capacity! Kate can be reached at:

Tríona Lenihan, who worked with us on an internship from the start of February, finished at the end of July to take up a position with Penal Reform International in London. Tríona was a terrific asset to IPRT, not least in the busy run up to the IPRT AGM and Annual Lecture! Tríona developed the Briefing on Solitary Confinement, Isolation, Protection and Special Regimes, published July 2013, which can be accessed here. We wish her every best wish in her future.

Finally (but not least!) we were delighted to welcome Ronan Hickey to the IPRT office team mid-October 2013. Ronan will be working with us an intern until the end of January 2014, and is currently working on an international comparison of standards of prison inspection, among other projects.


Sustainability of IPRT

Reflecting the challenging funding environment we find ourselves in, IPRT is in a process of restructuring with the aim of ensuring that we maintain our presence as a strong independent voice for penal reform.  We have reduced our core staff team from 5 to 3, but we hope that by attracting new project funding we will be able to maintain our level of activity in the year ahead. 

On the funding side, we have received positive news from the Atlantic Philanthropies that they will continue to fund our work until the end of 2016 (at which point the Atlantic Philanthropies will cease grant-making in Ireland). This is a major boost to IPRT and will ensure that we can make a major impact during a crucial period in penal policy development. 

We have also received positive news about a number of EU funded internationally projects which we have been funded to work in over the next two years. On the less positive side, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust have announced that they will cease funding work in the Republic of Ireland at the end of 2016, meaning that our two largest sources of funding will be removed at that point. 

The next three years will be challenging, but the Board and staff of IPRT are determined to do whatever it takes to make our work sustainable beyond 2016.  At this moment, we are making a major impact on penal policy and we know that a strong IPRT will be needed beyond 2016 to continue that work.  As we try to identify new sources of funding to support our work, we will need your help. Even small donations or standing orders can make a huge difference to a small organisation like IPRT. 

As ever, we welcome your feedback and suggestions - if you would like to share your thoughts, please get in touch.


IPRT Internship Programme

Applications for internships with IPRT from Feb to June 2014 will be announced in early January 2014.

Interns work as an integral part of the IPRT team, supporting our research and policy as well as communications and campaigns activities. Internships with IPRT are offered on a 5-month basis, working 14-21 hours a week. Full details available here: IPRT Internship policy and guidelines

Application Process
The application form is available here: IPRT Internship Application Form

For more information, please visit:


Become a Member

Would you like to become a member of IPRT?
Annual membership is just €10 for students, €40 for individuals, €80 for organisations/firms, and free to prisoners and their families. We can’t promise you lots of free stuff, but by becoming a member of IPRT you will be expressing your support for urgent penal reform in Ireland.

Why not consider becoming an IPRT member now?

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



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