Invitation to Tender with IPRT: Solitary Confinement

9 Dec

Invitation to Tender: “Abolishing Solitary Confinement in Ireland”

The practice of solitary confinement is internationally regarded as the physical isolation of individuals who are confined to their cells for 22 to 24 hours a day. Meaningful contact or interaction with other people is reduced to a minimum, with some prisoners only allowed out of their cells for just one hour of solitary exercise each day. In 2011, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture proposed a worldwide ban on prolonged solitary confinement (more than 15 days) as well as prohibiting solitary confinement from being used as a penalty, for persons with mental disabilities, and for juveniles. This is based on evidence that some of the harmful psychological effects of isolation can become irreversible after 15 days.

Despite this, solitary confinement is regularly used in Irish prisons both as a means of “protection” and as a punishment. The practice of isolating children is known as “single separation” while the use of 19+ hours lock up is generally referred to as a “restricted regime”. Worryingly, the numbers subject to a restricted regime in Irish prisons have shown an increase in 2016, from 339 in January to 424 in October (over 10% of the daily prison population in Ireland). Further, the published statistics do not tell us how long each of those prisoners actually spend in solitary confinement nor how often they are returned to solitary confinement, as the periods may be simply renewed.

In relation to children and detention, the Council of Europe has set out rules permitting separation only in very exceptional cases for security or safety reasons. Despite that, in 2015 HIQA reported that in the child detention school at Oberstown, Co. Dublin “single separation was used extensively and frequently for long periods of time” including 1,420 incidences of single separation between October and the end of May 2015.

Project Outline:
IPRT has secured funding from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to pursue an evidence-based research and awareness campaign towards the abolition of the use of solitary confinement in Ireland.

Tender Process:
Tendering individuals or organisations must submit a tender document of no more than 4 pages. Each tender should include:

  • A profile or CV of the individual making the proposal;
    • Details of previous relevant work in this area;
    • 2 samples of written work (these may be URLs to work published online);
    • The methodology you propose to adopt to achieve the key deliverables;
    • Costing and timeline with respect to the proposed work expressed within the overall budget for research of €10,000 (incl. VAT if applicable).

Full details are available here

Tenders should be submitted by e-mail to by
noon on Monday 19 December 2016.

Funded PhD and MLitt Scholarships – Trinity College Dublin

9 Dec

The School of Law, Trinity College Dublin, invites applications for three prestigious European Research Council-funded scholarships for PhD and MLitt training opportunities. These scholarships will be of interest to graduates of law or the social sciences.

Prisons: the rule of law, accountability and rights (PRILA) is a research project funded by the European Research Council. The Principal Investigator on the project, Dr. Mary Rogan, Associate Professor in Law, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, is seekin three scholars for the project:

  • 2 full-time PhD scholars: approximately €18,000 p.a (comprising the cost of
    home/EU fees per year, and a stipend of €12,000 p.a), for up to 4 years. Any
    costs for fees above the EU rates must be borne by the scholar. In addition,
    direct research expenses will also be covered by PRILA.
  • 1 full OR part-time MLitt scholar: approximately €8,000 p.a. full-time for up
    to two years, (comprising cost of home/EU fees per year and a stipend of
    €2,000 p.a) OR €4,200 p.a., part-time for up to four years (comprising cost of
    home/EU fees p.a. only). Any costs for fees above the home/EU rates must
    be borne by the scholar. In addition, direct research expenses will also be
    covered by PRILA.

The start date for all scholarships is planned to be March 30th 2017, but is subject to negotiation. The closing date for applications is January 20th 2017. The maximum period of funding is four years; the project and funding ends on March 30th 2021. Students will be placed on the structured PhD/MLitt programme at the School of Law.

The PhD and MLitt scholars will be joining a team of multidisciplinary scholars working in Ireland and around the world on a groundbreaking study on the rule of law, accountability and human rights in prisons.

More details including the background to the project, essential and desirable criteria and how to apply can be found here: phd-and-mlitt-scholarships-prila

Photography Exhibition: Experiences of Probation Supervision

1 Nov

The UCD School of Law, together with the Probation Service, are hosting an exhibition of photographs produced by people on probation which reflect their experiences of supervision – the ‘Supervisible Photography Exhibition‘.

Please see note below for more information on this event, being held on Friday 4th Nov at the Tallaght Probation Project:


Irish Postgraduate Conference – Call for Papers

19 Oct


Irish Postgraduate Criminology Conference 2017


Cork Road Campus, Waterford City
Waterford Institute of Technology
Thursday 23rd February 2017


Building on the success of the past two years in Dublin and Belfast, the Irish Postgraduate Criminology Conference will return in 2017 for its third annual conference. This year the conference will be held in Waterford Institute of Technology on Thursday, the 23rd February 2017. The theme of the conference is open and proposals for papers covering all areas of criminological research are welcome. The main aim of this conference is to provide masters and doctoral students with the opportunity to share their research in a friendly and supportive environment. With this in mind, two presentation formats are available.

  1. Conference paper: these will be allocated to thematic sessions and each presenter will be given 15 minutes to present.
  1. “Works in Progress” paper: we will hold a session entitled “Works in Progress” where students in the early stages of their research, or those who are experiencing challenges with one particular aspect of it, can present a 3 minute presentation and receive feedback on their work from an expert panel. Among others, areas that might be covered in this panel include:

– The focus of your research question
– Your theoretical framework
– What methodology you plan to use
– How you plan to analyse your data

Submission of Proposals
If you would like your paper to be considered for the conference, please complete the conference application form [click here] by the 30thNovember 2016.

You can register for the conference here [click here]. This conference is FREE and has kindly been sponsored by the School of Humanities at Waterford institute of Technology.

Book of Proceedings
The conference organisers are interested in publishing a book of proceedings from this conference. You will be asked to indicate your interest in contributing to the book in the conference application. Please keep an eye on the website for further updates.

Further Information:
If you require further information or have any queries regarding the Irish Postgraduate Criminology Conference 2017, please see the conference website: or email

Deaths in Custody: Helping to Establish the First Database in Ireland

18 Oct

A recent University of Limerick research project has attempted to draw together guidelines for the first database of deaths in custody in Ireland.

Led by Professor Shane Kilcommins and Dr Eimear Spain, 10 4th-year law students – Roisin Cahill, Blathnaid Christian O Shea, Maire Ciepierski , Caoilinn Doran, Cillian Flavin, Niall Foley, Michelle Kavanagh, Luke Mulcahy, Rachel O’Carroll and Stephen Strauss-Walsh – conducted a literature review of other common law jurisdictions to compile a means of designing a database in line with international best practice.

The Report draws together these findings and offers a concise overview of the current procedures for the investigation of deaths in custody, as well as an overview of literature on deaths in custody. The Report itself has been presented to the Inspector of Prisons, Judge Michael Reilly, and is expected to be presented to the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald.

#Blog: Attitudes towards Domestic Violence

21 Sep

This guest blog comes from Deborah O’Connell:

A number of years ago a friend of mine left a relationship because it had become abusive.   She developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, she became completely different to the bubbly, adventurous and life loving friend I knew.   She was nervous, on edge and fearful.   I could not really understand why until the terror attacks of the last few years.

I wrote the below article for my local paper and I was commended by a domestic violence resource group for describing it so succinctly and accurately that the ordinary person could understand.  I am now considering using this topic as the basis for my thesis, and I would appreciate any opinions. Contact:

A the launch of Ireland’s Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence, in January 2016 Frances Fitzgerald, T.D. stated that

Attitudes towards domestic violence

“…there lies much work, difficult work, to be done in changing society’s attitudes”

For the person who has never experienced domestic violence I can only describe it as akin to the fears society has over the terrorist attacks in the West at the moment. Is it safe to travel, (Brussels Airport, March 2016) will the plane explode / crash into something (America, September 2001), will it be safe to go to the beach – (Nice July 2016)?   Will the restaurant be attacked? (Bangladesh July 2016)

Fear, uncertainty, panic, on edge, anxious, terrified are just some of the words which can be used to describe the emotions of people caught up in terrorist attacks. For the bystanders, we watch in disbelief. I remember watching the news on September 11th 2001 and I thought i had accidentally switched over to a movie when the planes hit the towers. Terrorist attacks make us afraid and unsure. They attack the fundamental feeling of safety we have as we go about our daily lives.

This is the life of a domestic abuse victim. They cannot believe this is happening, they cannot understand it, and they live with the constant fear that it may happen again. Domestic Violence makes a person so unsure and so afraid they do not trust the world around them. People ask why they stay and its simple, how can they be certain the outside world is safer? How can they trust people, or indeed their own judgement? how will they cope? Similar fears to those victims of terrorism.

According to the world health organisation (WHO) almost 1/3 of women worldwide that is about 1.1 billion women will be affected by domestic violence. For every 3 women you know on average 1 is a victim of domestic violence.

Society doesn’t dismiss the feelings of victims of terrorist attacks or the fears of the general population about it, but victims of domestic violence are treated differently, for many they aren’t believed. A friend of mine was told they had mental health issues, told he can’t be that bad. Someone told her he was too good looking to be abusive! She wasn’t believed. Frances Fitzgerald has asked that society stop dismissing the feelings and fears of those who live with domestic abuse. I, for one, agree with her.

Postdoctoral Opportunities

26 Aug

De Montfort University is offering one-year postdoctoral positions in a variety of disciplines. The postdocs offered under the Early Career Academic Fellowship Scheme offer the possibility of a permanent position subject to sufficient progress.

The deadline for applications is September 26th.

Criminology/Criminal Justice is one of the listed areas of research.

For more details see here.