The Joint Committee on Justice and Equality have published their 2018 Report on Penal Reform and Sentencing. The report is based on a series of public meetings held in 2017 with various contributing stakeholder groups.

The Committee focused on measures that could be taken to decrease the numbers of people being sent to prison in Ireland each year. The report finds a ‘systematic overuse of imprisonment as punishment’, unacceptable conditions in Irish prisons, and the need to increase efforts to rehabilitate prisoners.

The Committee also called for the speedy introduction of legislation providing for the inspection of all places of detention in the Justice area – including prisons, Garda stations and courts; and for the immediate ratification thereafter of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention Against Torture (OPCAT).