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.

KYR Download

84 Page PDF

Physical Conditions

Will I be given toiletries?

Yes. Your Class Officer will provide items like:

  • soap
  • sanitary towels
  • toothpaste
  • a toothbrush
  • razors.

Throughout your time in prison, you will be given, free of charge, the items needed for good health and hygiene (cleanliness).

How often can I shower?

You should be allowed to take a hot shower or bath as often as possible, however, you are entitled to a hot shower or bath at least once a week. (Rule 25 [2])

If necessary, you may be excused from having a hot shower or bath for medical reasons.

What can I expect my cell to be like?

All prison cells or rooms should have the necessary furnishings. They should be:

  • well ventilated
  • well lit
  • warm enough.

When you arrive in prison you will be given enough bedding. This is usually:

  • a blanket
  • sheets
  • a pillow.

Every prisoner should have at least a mattress, if not a bed, to sleep on. (Rule 22)

If possible, toilets and washing facilities will be in the cell or room. If this isn’t the case, you should have reasonable access to toilets and washing facilities outside the cell.

Can I have a cell on my own?

Generally, no. If possible, prisoners should have individual cells to sleep in. However, overcrowding in Irish prisons means that not many prisoners have single cells, but instead usually share with one or two others.

The Minister for Justice has the power to specify the maximum number of people who may be put in a cell. (Rule 18 [2])

Sometimes prisoners can be held for a short time in a place other than a cell (for example, an office, recreation area or lobby). This happens if the Governor decides that exceptional circumstances like extreme overcrowding justify it.

The Governor must notify the Minister for Justice if circumstances mean you are going to be accommodated in a place other than a cell for more than 24 hours. (Rule 19)

Am I responsible for cleaning my cell?

Yes, prisoners need to keep their cells clean, with their belongings neatly arranged. (Rule 20) Prison staff will give you cleaning materials.