Since the commencement of the IPS Census of Restricted Regime Prisoners in July 2013, the number of prisoners on 22/23 hour restricted regime has decreased dramatically. However, IPRT is concerned about the length of time that individual prisoners are held in conditions which amount to solitary confinement.
Considering the decrease in the number of people on restricted regimes in recent years, we believe that it is an achievable goal for solitary confinement to be abolished in Ireland.
IPRT acknowledges the difficult challenge for any prison service in balancing prisoner safety (respecting the right to life) on the one hand, while at the same time providing prisoners with a reasonable and humane regime (respecting rights such as the right to private and family life). However, when drawing this balance, it is IPRT’s position that the potential harm to prisoners’ mental health that can be caused by extended periods of isolation means that the practice of holding any category of prisoner on 22+ hour lock-up must only ever be an exceptional measure; that this cannot be a solution in itself to prisoner safety concerns; and that robust safeguards must be in place in relation to the use of such regimes.
In 2016, IPRT secured funding from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to pursue an evidence-based research and awareness campaign towards the abolition of the use of solitary confinement in Ireland. 'Behind the Door': Solitary Confinement in the Irish Penal System was published in February 2018.
For the latest IPS Census of Restricted Regime Prisoners, click here.
2nd March 2022
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.
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.
25th January 2021
PRESS RELEASE: Improvements made during pandemic threatened by risk of return to ‘old normal’ according to PIPS 2020 report.
13th November 2020
Following delays, the April and July Prison Population Census Reports were published during the week of 9th November 2020. These reports are the first figures on restricted regimes and solitary confinement published by the Irish Prison Service since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
29th July 2020
MEDIA ADVISORY: A briefing detailing the experiences of people cocooning in Irish prisons published today (29.07.2020) by the Office of the Inspector of Prisons demonstrates the need for enhanced prison oversight and the longer-term ineffectiveness of COVID-19 responses that rely on prolonged confinement in prisons.
1st July 2020
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE) has adopted a Recommendation which updates the 2006 European Prison Rules. Among other amendments, the revised rules establish that states should set in their national legislation the maximum period for which solitary confinement may be imposed.
31st March 2020
The Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) in Australia has published 'Stopping Solitary Confinement', a submission to the Royal Commission into Violence, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. The HRLC writes specifically about the use of solitary confinement during COVID-19.
5th July 2019
The European Court of Human Rights has published a factsheet on detention conditions and treatment of prisoners outlines findings of inhuman and/or degrading treatment of prisoners.
21st May 2019
The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR) has published a review identifying ways to improve the health and wellbeing of young people in custody.
21st May 2019
Global Prison Trends 2019 is the fifth edition in PRI’s annual flagship Global Prison Trends series which identifies topical developments and challenges in criminal justice, and prison policy and practice.