Dóchas Centre Women's Prison
Dóchas Centre Women’s Prison (Courtesy: Irish Prison Service)

Dublin, IE – A man convicted of sexual offenses against a child will serve out his sentence in the only women’s prison in the country that provides accomodations for babies born to female inmates.

The man, who is in the process of gender-affirming transition, was remanded to Dóchas Centre Women’s Prison in Dublin following conviction on 10 counts of sexual assault and one count of cruelty against a child. His name is currently being withheld from the public.

The 105-capacity, medium-security facility is the only dedicated women’s prison on the Montjoy campus. The male inmate has been given protected status by the Irish Prison Service, and will be accompanied by two officers at all times while in the facility’s common areas.

The news comes just four months after the Visiting Committee issued an annual report that exposed “inappropriate relationships” between male staff and female inmates at Dóchas Centre. Noting that women at Dóchas Centre “are among the most vulnerable cohort in society,” the March 2019 report states: “Allegations have come to our attention of inappropriate relationships between some women and a small number of male staff.” The report’s authors appealed to “management, the Prison Service or other appropriate agency to take the necessary action” if it is found “that the behaviour of any prison officer, male or female, towards these women does not measure up to the highest professional standards demanded.”

In November 2011, as part of its research into the treatment of inmates in several prisons, the Department of Justice released a report describing an ocassion in which female inmates at Dóchas Centre were compelled to strip off all their clothes in front of male staff members. The Irish Penal Reform Trust, finding the incident to be of grave concern, had demanded a full investigation. The Women in Prison Reform Alliance and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin had called for all details related to any internal investigation into the incident to be published.

“[I]n a democratic system what goes on behind the walls of our prisons is a matter of public interest and must always be open to appropriate yet independent public scrutiny,” the Archbishop declared in a statement at the time.

According to Irish Prison Service data, 95% of female inmates are incarcerated for petty crime. Nine out of 10 are incarcerated for failure to pay court-ordered fines. Nearly all of the women serve sentences that are less than a year. Many struggle with trauma from a history of sexual abuse, mental health issues, substance abuse or homelessness. Teresa Clarke, regional manager of Mountjoy Prison Visitors Centre believes “95% of [women in prison] should be in addiction or mental health services.” She insists that “putting them into prison serves absolutely no purpose.”

Those who would like to express their views on the male sex offender housed with vulnerable women and babies at Dóchas Centre should contact:

Caron McCaffrey, Director General of the Irish Prison Service
IDA Business Park, Ballinalee Road, Longford, Co. Longford
Phone: +353 43 33 35100
Fax: +353 43 33 35371
Email:  info@irishprisons.ie
https://www.irishprisons.ie/contact/

Read more on this story

Sex offender undergoing male to female transition being held in Dublin women’s jail
DublinLive
A sex offender who is currently undergoing a male to female transition has been given a protection detail after being remanded to the Dochas Centre Women’s prison in Dublin.

Report details allegations of ‘inappropriate relationships’ between women and male staff at Dóchas centre
BreakingNews.ie
An explosive new report published by the Department of Justice is reporting allegations of “inappropriate relationships” between some women prisoners at the Dóchas centre in Dublin “and a small number of male staff”.

Criticism of ‘strip search’ in women’s prison
TheJournal.ie
FOUR BABIES WERE born to mothers in custody in 2017- the highest annual number in recent years.

Almost all women in Irish prisons are there for committing petty crime
TheJournal.ie
ALMOST ALL WOMEN in Irish prisons are serving sentences for committing petty crimes, an analysis of statistics shows.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Male sex offender in a women’s prison with children??? This is an absolute outrage! I’m definitely writing to them!
    Thank you for exposing this, and for providing an address. I LOVE writing postcards to the powers that be. I’m going to contact them by postcard, email, and their contact form. This is perfect, what you’ve provided!. Excellently written article!

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  2. The issue of transwomen in women’s prison’s in Ireland is not covered by the Gender Recognition Act (2015) as far as I know and the trans lobby here are pushing the issue, seeking to set the agenda with the governing body. So it is well worth writing as policy is not yet established. Thanks for covering this.

    1

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