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REMINDER: NI Prisoner Ombudsman to speak on Prisoner Complaints and Investigations into Prison Deaths

27th March 2012

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) is delighted to welcome Northern Ireland Prisoner Ombudsman, Pauline McCabe, to Dublin as keynote speaker at a seminar and launch event taking place this Friday, 30th March 2012 at 11am in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin Castle.

Strengthening Accountability Behind Bars: Prisoner Rights and Prisoner Complaints will outline the rights of prisoners while they are in custody, whilst also examining the structures that need to be in place in order to protect these rights. A new publication, the Know Your Rights Your Rights as a Prisoner, produced jointly with the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, will be launched at the event.

Pauline McCabe has established her office at the cutting edge of prison accountability internationally and she will speak about her work investigating prisoner complaints and deaths in custody, and will address wider themes of accountability within the prison system in Northern Ireland.

A panel discussion, chaired by Gráinne McMorrow SC, will follow the address. Panellists will include:

  • Mr Jimmy Martin, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Justice and Equality
  • Brian Murphy, Deputy Director, Operations, Irish Prison Service
  • Mr John Clinton, General Secretary, Prison Officers Association

A former prisoner will also speak about his experiences.

For all media enquiries, interviews with speakers, and images, please contact: Fíona Ní Chinnéide: T: (01) 874 1400; M: 087 181 2990; E: communications@iprt.ie

This publication and seminar are funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, as part of its Research Development Initiative. It is part of a collaborative project between Dublin Institute of Technology and the Irish Penal Reform Trust. See: http://www.irchss.ie/awrads/rdi


1. NI Prisoner Ombudsman | www.niprisonerombudsman.com

The Prisoner Ombudsman is appointed by the Minister of Justice for Northern Ireland and is completely independent of the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS). The Prisoner Ombudsman investigates complaints from prisoners held in Northern Ireland who remain unhappy with how their complaint has been responded to by the Prison Service. The Prisoner Ombudsman also investigates all deaths in Prison Service custody in Northern Ireland. The current Prisoner Ombudsman is Pauline McCabe. She is supported in her work by a team of investigators and other support staff.

2. Know Your Rights: Your Rights as a Prisoner

Produced jointly by the ICCL and IPRT, the Your Rights as a Prisoner pack aims to help prisoners understand the rights they have while in prison. It is written in everyday language and is informative and easy to use. Following its launch on Friday 30th March, the booklet will be available online at www.knowyourrights.ie and www.iprt.ie; it will also be available in print on request from IPRT (01-8741400 or info@iprt.ie) Your Rights as a Prisoner will be available in audio format and in translation from summer 2012.

3. IPRT Position Paper 7: Complaints, Monitoring and Inspection in Prisons

This Position Paper assesses the current complaints and investigation structures in Ireland against international human rights standards and obligations, and makes a series of recommendations for the improvement of current mechanisms, including a call for the establishment of an Office of Prisoner Ombudsman to deal with individual complaints. Download the paper here.

4. Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) | www.iprt.ie

IPRT is Ireland's leading non-governmental organisation campaigning for the rights of everyone in prison and the progressive reform of Irish penal policy, with prison as a last resort.

5. Know Your Rights | www.knowyourrights.ie

The Irish Council for Liberties (ICCL) Know Your Rights public information project is designed to inform people in clear and accessible language about their rights under various key areas of the law in Ireland. Topics covered in Know Your Rights booklets include: Criminal Justice and Garda Powers, Privacy and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

viewed here