Irish Penal Reform Trust: Invitation to Tender

Irish Penal Reform Trust

Invitation to Tender: A Scoping Study on Maternal Imprisonment in Ireland – Irish Penal Reform Trust

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT), Ireland’s leading non-governmental organisation campaigning for rights in the penal system and progressive reform of penal policy, is now inviting tenders for a scoping study examining maternal imprisonment in Ireland.


Imprisonment of a child’s primary caregiver can have an extremely detrimental impact on the child, with parental imprisonment being recognised as one of 10 ‘Adverse Childhood Experiences’ (ACEs) which can have a lasting impact on people into adulthood (IPRT 2021). While less is known about the specific impact on children of having a mother in prison, research from England and Wales has suggested that maternal imprisonment is likely to be even more disruptive to a child than paternal imprisonment (Lockwood 2020). Internationally, research has explored the issue of maternal imprisonment and the harm caused to children when their mother – who is often the primary carer – is imprisoned. To date, however, there has been very limited examination of the numbers and experiences of mothers imprisoned in Ireland, or their children.

Project Outline

In 2020, IPRT was awarded funding for a 3-year project looking at the children and families of prisoners, with the aim of reducing the harm caused to these children and families and particularly reducing female imprisonment. The main vehicle through which these project goals are delivered is the Action for Children and Families of Prisoners Network (ACFP Network). Funding is also available for specific research to be carried out into maternal imprisonment in Ireland, with the aim of better understanding the levels of maternal imprisonment in Ireland and identifying any gaps in the data currently available. The research will also involve a literature review of domestic and international research on maternal imprisonment, as well as proposals for reducing the number of mothers sent to prison.

Tender Outline

IPRT wishes to commission an expert researcher(s) to provide research on the numbers of mothers imprisoned in Ireland; any gaps in the data currently available on such numbers; trends in maternal imprisonment internationally; the impact of maternal imprisonment on both women and children (based on national and international research); and proposals for reducing the number of mothers sent to prison and addressing any negative impacts arising from maternal imprisonment.

The research should include the following:

  • A literature review of the available national and international research on the impact of maternal imprisonment on both women and children;
  • The rates of maternal imprisonment in Ireland, including the numbers of mothers imprisoned and any discernible trends (to the extent that such data is available);
  • Identification of any data gaps in understanding maternal imprisonment in Ireland;
  • Identification of any trends in maternal imprisonment internationally; and
  • Proposals for evidence-based recommendations on how the number of mothers sent to prison in Ireland may be reduced and the negative impacts (if any) arising from maternal imprisonment may be addressed (drawn from national and international best practice).

Project Deliverables

The successful tender will be expected to produce a research report (circa 10-15k words), with clear recommendations for addressing maternal imprisonment in Ireland, by 30th November 2022. While to be confirmed, the launch of the report would be likely in early- to mid-2023. The successful tenderer is expected to attend the launch and present the findings of the research.

More information, including requirements and the tender process, are available on the IPRT website. The full invitation to tender can also be accessed as an attachment below.

Tenders should be submitted by e-mail to by noon on Monday 11th July 2022 at the latest.

Attachment Size
Invitation to tender 211.96 KB

General Info

Date Entered/Updated
7th Jun, 2022
Expiry Date
11th Jul, 2022