Know Your Rights - Your Rights As A Prisoner

The information on this website is designed to help you to better know and understand the rights someone has while they are in prison. This website is an interactive version of IPRT and ICCL's 'Know Your Rights - Your Rights as a Prisoner' booklet.

The booklet is available for download in different formats by clicking the orange button.

Please don’t be put off by the amount of information on this website. You can read and/or print just the sections that are important to you. We have done our best to write and present this information as clearly as we can, and we start below by explaining some of the key words used on this website.

You can always click back to the 'Key Words' section if you come across a word you do not understand. We used Plain English Guidelines to help as many people as possible understand the information.

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Female Prisoners

As a female prisoner, how can I expect to be treated in prison?

Women should be kept in separate areas to male prisoners, and male prisoners should not be allowed access to areas at the same time as female prisoners. However, the Governor may allow male and female prisoners to take part together in authorised activities. (Rule 52)

What happens if am pregnant, or have a baby when I am committed to prison?

If you are pregnant and likely to give birth while you’re in custody, the Governor will arrange it so that you can give birth in a hospital with suitable facilities outside the prison. (Rule 33 [2])

If a woman with a baby is committed to prison or if she gives birth in prison, arrangements can be made for the child to stay with her, for example, to allow for breastfeeding, up to the age of 12 months. (Rule 17)

The Governor will check with Tusla (the Child and Family Agency) and the Probation Service and may allow your baby to stay with you for up to a year. If the Tusla assessment says that it is best that your child stays with you in prison until they are 12 months, the Governor will make sure you have the items and food that your baby needs.

Your child can only be taken away from you if:

  • the court orders it
  • you give your permission for the child to be removed.

Where you give permission for your child to be removed, this can only be done if the Governor also directs it. The Governor will only direct your child’s removal after they have consulted with a prison doctor and other appropriate healthcare professionals.

Your child will only be allowed to stay with you in prison after the age of 12 months in very special circumstances. If the Governor allows your child to stay with you for longer than 12 months, you will have to arrange for any items or care needed at your own expense.

Towards the end of the baby’s time with you, your baby may be allowed to spend time outside the prison. For example, they may be able to spend a few days with the person who will care for them during your time in prison. This will allow you and the baby to prepare for eventual separation.

The Governor will check with you and Tusla as to whether your child will be placed in care when they leave the prison. The best interests of your child should always be the main concern.