Irish prisons review to identify areas in need of change

A review of the Irish Prison Service is underway with a comprehensive report including all recommendations on changes or improvements to be completed by September 1 this year.

A review of the Irish Prison Service is underway with a comprehensive report including all recommendations on changes or improvements to be completed by September 1 this year.

The review will be carried out by the Inspector of Prisons, Judge Michael Reilly, and will focus on a number of areas. Of importance will be a study of the present structures within the Irish Prison Service, and the roles and responsibilities of those working in the service.

It will be considered whether the present service meets the set objectives and stated vision, and will look at the training and continuous development of prison staff at all levels. The relationship of the Irish Prison Service with the Department of Justice and Equality will also be reviewed.

Judge Reilly will be assisted in carrying out the review by Professor Andrew Coyle, Emeritus Professor of Prison Studies, University of London. He is a former prison governor and advisor to the UK Home Secretary, who was involved in driving organisational and cultural change within many prison systems and is an internationally recognised expert.

Welcoming the news, The Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD said: “I believe this is a timely review which will build on the considerable progress made by the Irish Prison Service in recent years.

“As the Inspector says, the numbers in prison have reduced, physical conditions have improved, a building programme is under way, and slopping out will be a thing of the past in future years.”

Minister Fitzgerald said that much has been done to address the many issues which have adversely affected the Irish prison system for decades. She concluded by saying that she believed more can be done if everyone builds on the investment already made by the government, management and staff of the Irish Prison Service.