The number of people being sent to prison for the non-payment of fines has, for the first time in the Republic, exceeded half of all prison committals.  Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

The number of people being sent to prison for the non-payment of fines has, for the first time in the Republic, exceeded half of all prison committals(...)

Prof Sir Nigel Rodley, UN Human Rights Committee chairman. Photograph: Peter Thursfield

Much coverage of the UN’s scrutiny of Ireland’s human rights record, in Geneva this week, focussed on abortion and symphysiotomy. But the 18-member (...)

 Marie O’Connor of the Survivors of Symphysiotomy: asked UN for help in redress

Ireland’s refusal to admit the practice of symphysiotomy was “torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading” brought an Irish group representing survivors t(...)

Pavee Point co-director Martin Collins, researcher Liza Costello and Irish Penal Reform Trust executive director  Deirdre Malone at the publication of a report on Travellers in the Irish prison system. Photograph:  Derek Speirs

Effective methods of “ethnic monitoring” are required in Irish prisons as part of an overall strategy to aid Travellers break the cycle of offending b(...)

Considerable progress has been made in dealing with issues of overcrowding, drug abuse and violence within the prison system. Reports from visiting co(...)

A new report documents parents going hungry to feed their children, people unable to heat their homes and a young generation at serious risk of being lost to unemployment, drugs and crime. Photograph: Getty Images/Hemera

Stories of ordinary people who are “at breaking point” after three years of austerity policies, and up to six years of recession, are told in a(...)

Liam Herrick has been director of the Irish Penal Reform Trust since 2007. Photograph: Eric Luke

A human rights specialist with a long record in equality and legal reform will be announced as President Michael D Higgins’s new special adviser this (...)

Judge Michael Reilly, Inspector of Prisons, said the number of committals to Dóchas Centre had increased from 155 in 1990 to 2,092 last year. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The main prison for women has “lost its way”, being characterised by a disconnect between management and staff, junior staff not being supported, disc(...)

‘I forgive you’: Joanne Nodding, who met the man who raped her. Photograph:  Christopher Thomond/Guardian News & Media

On the morning Joanne Nodding met the man who raped her, she was struck by something she never expected. “He looked terrified. He was like a scared li(...)

Deterrent?: under Megan’s Law, US towns can put up signs about sex offenders. Photograph: Dith Pran/New York Times

In Germany paedophiles can volunteer to be castrated. In the US their faces and personal details are disclosed on official websites, and towns signpos(...)