Progress in the
Penal System (PIPS)

10: Separation of remand from sentenced prisoners

Standard 10:

Remand prisoners are held separately from sentenced prisoners across the entire prison estate.

Rationale:

Article 10(a) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) [292] 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.

Current context:

Figures provided by the Irish Prison Service show that there has been a growth in the number of prisoners on remand over the last 12 months. Snapshot figures show there were 736 individuals on remand on 30 th November 2017, [293] an increase of 101 persons from 30 th November 2016 when there were 635 people on remand. [294]

The UN Committee Against Torture was critical of the lack of data on persons held on remand by the State:

Regarding remand prisoners. We appreciate very much your replies regarding this particular category of prisoners, but since again you have not provided any statistics regarding the average length of time prisoners spend in remand, we do not get an objective picture of their situation. The excessive duration of remand detention represents permanent concerns of this committee, this is why it is important for us to have these statistics and we hope that the information on length of remand will be published. [295]

While the Irish Prison Service stated that it does not compile data on the lengths of time people spend on remand, at the UNCAT hearing a commitment was made to undertake research and publish information on lengths of time prisoners are spending on remand in its quarterly statistics. [296] This has not yet happened.

Reducing the number of those being detained on remand is one approach to reducing the current prison population. As highlighted by the European Parliament:

Criminal procedure reforms are also needed to reduce both the use of pre-trial detention and its length; such reforms could include giving priority to trials involving persons held in pre-trial detention, and ensuring better implementation of the principle according to which pre-trial detention should be reviewed at regular intervals to assess whether it remains justified. [297]

Indicators for Standard:

Indicators for Standard 10

Indicator S10.1: Number of remand prisoners held alongside people serving a prison sentence: As of 4 th July 2018, there were 743 remand prisoners in custody, of whom 222 were sharing a cell with a sentenced prisoner. [298] This compares to a figure of 92 remand prisoners mixed with sentenced prisoners on 6th July 2017. [299] These figures demonstrate that the prison system did not have sufficient separate accommodation for the sharp increase in the number of remand committals over the period.

Institution [300] Total number of prisoners on Remand Number of remand prisoners sharing a cell with a sentenced prisoner
Arbour Hill Prison 2 2
Castlerea Prison 58 27
Cloverhill Prison 362 53
Cork Prison 62 39
Dóchas Centre 36 16
Limerick Prison 83 32
Midlands Prison 82 49
Mountjoy Prison 39 1
Portlaoise Prison 18 3
Wheatfield Place of Detention 1 0
Total 743 222

Actions required:

Action 10.1 The Irish Prison Service should publish the lengths of time individuals are spending on remand in prison as recommended by the UN Committee against Torture.
Action 10.2: The Department of Justice and Equality and the Irish Prison Service should commit to a clear timeframe for the separation of all remand prisoners from sentenced prisoners, in particular the female prison population, for whom there is no dedicated remand facility.

References:

IPRT Irish Penal Reform Trust

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