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Remand prisoners are held separately from sentenced prisoners across the entire prison estate.
Article 10(a) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) makes clear that remand prisoners should be held separately from sentenced prisoners. As remand prisoners have not been found guilty of an offence they should be held separately from sentenced prisoners.
There has been an increase in the number of persons being held on remand in custody. As of 31 December 2018, there were 726 persons on remand. This compares to 664 persons on remand on 31 December 2017.
Monthly information notes demonstrate the increasing average number of prisoners held on remand from 2016 to 2018, as outlined in the table below. There was a 24.3% increase in the monthly average numbers on remand from December 2016 to December 2018.
Table: Average monthly number on remand, 2016–2018
Indicator S10.1: The number of remand prisoners held alongside people serving a prison sentence.
Based on snapshot figures by the Irish Prison Service, the total number of prisoners on remand in 2019 who were held alongside remand prisoners mixed with sentenced prisoners is outlined below.
Remand prisoners sharing cells with sentenced prisoners
|Institution||Prisoners on remand on 14th June 2019||Of whom shared a cell with a sentenced prisoner|
Approximately 27% of the remand prison population shared a cell with sentenced prisoners in 2019, a slight decrease from 29% in 2018.
The overall increase in the number of prisoners being held on remand demonstrates that imprisonment is not being used as a last resort. More transparent data and deeper analysis is required to understand the reasons for this – for example, whether the introduction of new bail laws such as the Criminal Justice Act 2017 has impacted on these numbers.
Homelessness may also be a factor affecting the increasing number of prisoners being held on remand. In a systematic review of studies that estimate the prevalence of homelessness among committals, an Irish study found that 17.4% or one in six people were homeless on committal.  Comparatively, US studies have found rates of homelessness at the time of imprisonment to be 12.4% and 16%. In the UK, estimates of 15% have been made. Homelessness is a particular issue for persons held in Cloverhill Prison:
There is a high degree of homelessness among the prisoners with perhaps as much as one third of prisoners being affected.
In this context, it is important that other bodies, including the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, work together to ensure that no one is detained on remand for reasons of homelessness.
Progressive practice: Reducing pre-trial detention
Drawing on international standards and its own research findings, Penal Reform International have provided this ten-point plan in reducing pre-trial detention.
|Action 10.1||The Department of Justice and Equality, in conjunction with An Garda Síochána, the Courts Service, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the IPS and the Central Statistics Office, should compile comprehensive statistics relating to the use of pre-trial detention, with a view to enhancing knowledge and understanding of statistical trends.|
|Action 10.2:||The IPS should use the opportunity presented by the development of new Limerick Prison facilities to achieve separation of remand and sentenced female prisoners.|
United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.aspx.
IPS (2019), Annual Report 2018, p.23 https://www.irishprisons.ie/information-centre/publications/annual-reports/.
IPS (2018), Annual Report 2017, p.25 https://www.irishprisons.ie/wp-content/uploads/documents_pdf/IPS-annualreport-2017.pdf.
IPS, Monthly Information Note, https://www.irishprisons.ie/information-centre/statistics-information/monthly-information-note/.
UNCAT (2017), Concluding Observations on the Second Periodic Report of Ireland, https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CAT/Shared%20Documents/IRL/INT_CAT_COC_IRL_28491_E.pdf.
IPS, Monthly Information Note, Remand/Trial Prisoners, https://www.irishprisons.ie/information-centre/statistics-information/monthly-information-note/.
*Houses of the Oireachtas, Prisoner Data, 10 July 2018, https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2018-07-10/303/.
**Department of Justice and Equality, Parliamentary Questions, 18 June 2019, http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/JELR/Pages/PQ-18-06-2019-239.
Penal Reform International and UK Aid from the British People (2016), 10 point Plan, Reducing Pre-trial Detention, https://cdn.penalreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/10-point-plan-Pre-trial-detention-WEB_final.pdf.
Department of Justice and Equality, Criminal Justice Act 2017, http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Criminal_Justice_Act_2017.
Gulati, G., Keating N., O’Neill, A., Delaunois, I., Meagher D. and Dunne, C.P. (2018), ‘The prevalence of major mental illness, substance misuse and homelessness in Irish prisoners: Systematic review and meta-analyses’, Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine (2019), Vol. 36, pp. 35–45.
In this particular study, homelessness was defined as those living ‘homeless and roofless’ and in ‘unsettled accommodation’. Data on homelessness at the time of incarceration were extracted.
Figures cited in Gulati, G., Keating N., O’Neill, A. Delaunois, I., Meagher D. and Dunne, C.P. (2018), ‘The prevalence of major mental illness, substance misuse and homelessness in Irish prisoners: Systematic review and meta-analyses, Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine (2019), Vol. 36, 35–45.
Department of Justice and Equality (2019), Annual Report 2017 from Cloverhill visiting Committee to the Minister for Justice Charles Flanagan, p.2 http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Cloverhill_Prison_Visiting_Committee_Annual_Report_2017.pdf/Files/Clo- verhill_Prison_Visiting_Committee_Annual_Report_2017.pdf.