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Some Midlands Prisoners Experiencing "Defacto Solitary Confinement"

That's one of the findings of a new report of the Irish prison system.

Prisoners in the midlands spend an average of over five and half hours a day out of their cell.

A new report from the Irish Penal Reform Trust has also found the use of solitary confinement has increased in Irish prisons.

It notes that some inmates at the Midlands Prison are experiencing "defacto solitary confinement", with the minimum of two hours out-of-cell time not being recorded.

An inspection in 2019 also found weekend visits at the prison were not commonplace, despite the Justice Minister stating Saturday visits should be allowed to facilitate the needs of families.

Deputy Director of the trust, Molly Joyce, says judges should consider community sanctions instead of jailtime, to reduce overcrowding:

The Department of Justice is being slammed for a lack of available data in certain aspects of the prison systems.

It was one of the major criticisms from the Irish Penal Reform Trust, which says the lack of publicly available data hampers its ability to fairly analyse the prison service.

In its latest 'Progress in the Penal System' report, it says the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of prisoners isn't clear, but there are concerns from family members.

Addressing the gaps in data, Sinead Gibney from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission says it's limiting the work of the IPRT:

 

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