IPRT promotes rehabilitation and social integration as central concerns of Irish penal policy.
Incarceration often damages the prisoner’s social functioning, therefore contributing to his or her return to offending following release. Studies have shown that imprisonment has a damaging effect on the mental health of the prisoners, and can impair the ability to function in the outside world; prisoners can become institutionalised and therefore unable to live outside of the prison environment.
Imprisonment also carries with it profound negative social impacts on the prisoner’s family and on his or her community, and often the consequences of even a short period of imprisonment are permanent for both the prisoner and those close to him. Research has shown that those communities to which most ex-prisoners return are those characterised by high levels of deprivation and least able to cope with their re-entry. IPRT believes that imprisonment can exacerbate such difficulties within such communities.
In this context, IPRT believes that appropriate preparation for release and post-release support play an important role in the successful return of former prisoners to their families, communities and the wider society. Two elements should always be considered: preparation during the course of the sentence (‘sentence-planning’) and coordinated support post-release. Preparation for release while still in prison should consider not only equipping prisoners with essential skills (such as work skills), but should also include making connections with the prisoner’s family and/or community outside of the prison environment, for example through the use of periods of temporary release.
IPRT believes that post-release support is crucial in the successful re-integration, and should link the former prisoner not only with potential employment opportunities but also with appropriate services in the community, for example with mental health services or substance abuse support groups. It should also consider support for prisoners’ families.
30th May 2022
IPRT welcomed the opportunity to provide this alternative report to the UN Human Rights Committee on Ireland’s fifth review under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
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.
4th March 2022
This submission discusses key rehabilitative supports, services and resources in prisons and makes 13 recommendations for change.
21st February 2022
The report on a consultation on proposals to reform rehabilitation periods in Northern Ireland has been published by the Department of Justice NI. The Minister is now progressing plans for reform of the current scheme.
23rd December 2021
The Interagency Group focuses on analysing the nature of the problems faced by people when released from custody and how better interagency cooperation could assist in their reintegration into the community. The fourth Annual Report outlines areas of progress and of concern, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
8th December 2021
The main area of focus in the submission is on adding an additional equality ground, namely, discrimination on the basis of a criminal conviction.
6th October 2021
Ulster University and NIACRO undertook a quantitative study to explore employer practices and concerns, and to investigate what may increase the likelihood of them hiring people with convictions. Less than 1% of employers surveyed stated they would ‘definitely not’ consider hiring someone with a conviction history
4th October 2021
Upgrades in prison infrastructure in the NDP include plans to provide additional capacity at open centres and to end slopping out in E Bock in Portlaoise.
20th April 2021
The Interagency Group focuses on analysing the nature of the problems faced by people when released from custody and how better interagency cooperation could assist in their reintegration into the community. The Group's third Annual Report outlines areas of progress and areas of concern.
14th September 2020
UK charities Unlock and The Prison Reform Trust have published ‘Thinking Differently: Employer’s views on hiring people convicted of sexual offences’, a report based on two surveys regarding the employment of those previously convicted of sexual offences.