Progress in the
Penal System (PIPS)

32: Cohorts of prisoners at risk of discrimination

Standard 32:

Management in the prison system takes a proactive approach towards protecting anyone who is at risk of discrimination due to their age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, disability or other.


Some prisoners and staff are at increased risk of discrimination due to their status. With this in mind, the Irish Prison Service should proactively act against any form of discrimination against prisoners or prison staff.

Current context:

The Public Sector Duty [643] places a legal obligation on public bodies to promote equality, prevent discrimination and protect the human rights of both employees and service users. The Irish Prison Service has been involved in a pilot project with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) to assess and address specific equality and human rights issues for women in prison and to inform the Irish Prison Service approach to implementing the Public Sector Duty. The project builds on the work undertaken by the Commission in 2016 in the context of the examination of Ireland’s record under the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). [644] Working groups have been established in Limerick female prison and Dóchas Centre with female prisoners and prison staff to undertake an initial assessment of equality and human rights issues for women prisoners with a view to developing an action plan for the Irish Prison Service in order to meet the requirements of Section 42 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014. Both working groups report on a periodic basis to a national steering committee chaired by the Director General of the Irish Prison Service.

Indicators for Standard:

Indicators for Standard 32

Indicator S32.1: Progress towards implementation of the Public Sector Duty under s42 of the Human Rights and Equality Act across the prison system: The two women’s prisons, the Dóchas Centre and Limerick Female Prison, are currently being used as pilots for the implementation of the Public Sector Duty. These pilot projects are due to be completed by October 2018.

Indicator S32.2: Progress on implementation of strategies for vulnerable cohorts of people in prison:

Older people

Young people

People with disabilities

LGBT people


Actions required:

Action 32.1: State bodies including the Prison Service and the Probation Service should ensure the ongoing implementation of the Public Sector Duty.
Action 32.2:: A coordinated policy approach to dealing with discrimination (including intersectional discrimination) should be developed by the Irish Prison Service.


IPRT Irish Penal Reform Trust


Copyright 2019 Irish Penal Reform Trust. CHY number: 11091

viewed here