Saturday 15 December 2018

Call for abolition of solitary confinement: Report reveals hundreds of prisoners locked up for 19 hours a day

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Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

The Irish Prison Service is being called on to abolish the practice of solitary confinement due to concerns about prisoners' mental health.

In a report by the Irish Penal Reform Trust, they said a growing number of people are now requesting to be placed in isolation out of fear.

The report found that the majority of prisoners on such "restricted regimes" are there for self-protection and says tackling problems of violence in our prisons will reduce the number of people in isolation.

Solitary confinement requires prisoners to be alone for the majority of the day.

The report says 379 prisoners requested to be placed on the restricted regime last year and were locked up for at least 19 hours a day.

Speaking to Newstalk ahead of the report's launch in Dublin today, Deirdre Malone, executive director of the IPRT said: "There needs now to be a concerted effort [...] to reduce incidents of violence within the system, and to do what we can to support staff and prisoners, and to make prisons safer."

Former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Méndez will make a keynote address at the launch today.

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