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Posts Tagged ‘IPRT’

New IPRT Report Launched Today

November 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Dr. Ursula Kilkelly of University College Cork , who currently serves as chair of the Irish Penal Reform Trust has an informative article on the detention of children in today’s Irish Examiner. The article promotes a new report, which will be launched today by the Irish Penal Reform Trust. The report is titled Detention of Children in Ireland: International Standards and Best Practice. We have already posted on the report here.

The full text of this comprehensive and informative report is now available here. It is especially noteworthy for its foreword by the Ombudsman for Children, Emily Logan, reported here.

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From the IPRT: Detention of Children in Ireland: International Standards and Best Practice.

November 26, 2009 1 comment

On Monday, the Irish Penal Reform Trust will launch a new report; Detention of Children in Ireland: International Standards and Best Practice. Details of the launch are here. In the year in which the UNCRC turns 20, the IPRT reminds us that:

Article 37 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Ireland in 1992, requires that the arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child should be a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time. Detention as a last resort requires parsimony in the use of custody for children and that it be limited to exceptional cases, including for example where a child has been found guilty of a violent offence.As long as detention exists as an option, places of detention for children should aim to maximise their chances of rehabilitation and integration into society by providing a humane, safe and secure environment whereby the offending behaviour of children can be addressed, and where children will be assisted to make better choices about their lives during custody and on their return to society.

Read more…

Irish Prisons and Article 3 ECHR

November 9, 2009 1 comment

Agnieska Martynowicz of the IPRT has an excellent article in today’s Irish Times about the relationship between the right to freedom from inhuman and degrading  treatment protected under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and structural overcrowding in prisons. Liz has blogged about the overcrowding problem in Irish prisons and the Inspector of Prisons Annual Report here and Agnieska draws attention in her article to the view which the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture has taken on Ireland’s prisons:

In 1998, it assessed the problems of overcrowding in Irish prisons as “endemic”. It repeated its concerns in 2002 and in 2006 the committee identified overcrowding as an exacerbating factor for other systemic problems such as poor cell conditions, poor regimes and inter-prisoner violence. The committee is also very clear that expanding the prison estate is not a solution to the problem.

The recent cases of Orchowski -v- Poland (Application No 17885/04) and Norbert Sikorski -v- Poland (Application No 17599/05) concerned prisoners who, on a number of occasions were held in cells shared with other prisoners and had less than the statutory three square metres of living space to each person. They were able to  establish beyond reasonable doubt that for substantial periods of time, the applicants had not been provided with the minimum “humanitarian” amount of space. The court held that the distress and hardship endured by the applicants had exceeded the unavoidable level of suffering inherent in detention. Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights was, accordingly, violated.

Agnieska provides an astute assessment of the consequences of the ECtHR Article 3 jurisprudence for Ireland:

While to date there has been no case decided in Irish law specifically challenging prison conditions as inhuman and degrading, the European Convention on Human Rights Act 2003, requiring public bodies to act in compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights, adds another legal basis for possible challenge.

Under the Act, the courts are also under a duty to interpret Irish law in a manner compatible with the convention as interpreted by the European court.

Considering the fast-developing human rights standards in this area, future challenges at the domestic level under the Constitution or the European Convention on Human Rights Act 2003 can be anticipated.

The two judgments against Poland signify that the European court may well look favourably on cases brought against Ireland in similar context.

While the urgency of the current overcrowding crisis is clear in human rights terms, there may also be significant financial consequences for State inaction in terms of payment of any damages ordered in successful cases.

This possibility and the wider consequences of a successful challenge should be considered by the Irish Government in their handling of the issue.

Liam Herrick, Irish Penal Reform Trust to speak at DIT, November 10th

November 2, 2009 Leave a comment

Liam Herrick, Executive Director, Irish Penal Reform Trust to speak at DIT.

As part of DIT’s School of Social Sciences and Law’s Socio-Legal Speaker Series, Liam Herrick, Executive Director of the Irish Penal Reform Trust will discuss current challenges facing the Irish prison system on Tuesday, November 10 in Room 304, DIT Mountjoy Square at 7pm. Details of the location can be found here

Liam’s talk is particularly relevant at a time of unprecedented growth in the prison population, high levels of overcrowding and violence. It promises to be a very interesting evening.

All are welcome.

For further information please contact Dr Mary Rogan, Department of Law, DIT: 01 402 3217/mary.rogan@dit.ie