Assaults on prison officers in Portlaoise jails not being officially recorded

Prison Officers Association to debate issue at its annual conference

Conor Ganly

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Conor Ganly

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news@leinsterexpress.ie

Prison portlaoise

Prison officers at the Midlands Prison Portlaoise.

Assaults by prisoners on prison officers during gang rows in Portlaoise jails and other prisons are not being recorded by the Prison Service, according to the Prison Officers Association (POA). 

The association, which holds its annual conference this week, claims that the Irish Prison Service has altered its method of recording attacks. It claims that injuries sustained by officers when they intervene to break up fights are are no longer recorded.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Jim Mitchell, the Deputy General Secretary of the POA claimed that there were 22 assaults on staff in Portlaoise and Mountjoy prisons over the Christmas period alone. Just 107 assaults were officially recorded in 2017.

Mr Mitchell said staff were injured and damaged as a result of gang rows but though these are not recorded as direct assaults.

The association wants the Director of Prisons bring back the withdrawal of remission as punishment for prisoners who commit serious disciplinary offences.

A motion calling for the reinstatement of the measure is to be debated at the POA's annual conference this week.

The 71st Annual Delegate Conference takes place on April 19 and 20 in the Lyrath Estate Hotel, Paulstown Road, Kilkenny.

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