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New prisons strategy must be supported by adequate resources and reform across criminal justice system – IPRT

30th April 2012

MEDIA ADVISORY 

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) welcomes the Irish Prison Service Strategic Plan 2012-2014 launched today (30 April, 2012) as offering a positive and progressive vision for the Irish prison system. Many of the elements correspond to reforms around which IPRT has advocated over the last 18 years, and which were included in our recommendations to the Thornton Hall Review Group in May 2011.

Speaking today, IPRT Executive Director Liam Herrick said:

After decades of misguided prison expansion and an apparent lack of effective policy, IPRT believes this Strategic Plan puts forward a coherent approach to prison policy and planning, based on sound principles. Recent commitments around the ending of detention of children in St Patrick’s Institution and investigating deaths in custody have also been extremely significant.”

“However, prisons and penal policy do not exist in a vacuum, and for this strategy to work, there needs to be reform across all levels of the criminal justice system, including sentencing and parole. It is crucial that this Strategy is supported by adequate resourcing of probation and community services, alongside increased provision in regimes and education within the prison, to ensure the prison service reaches its goals in reducing reoffending.”

“The most important test, though, is whether the vision in the Strategy can be translated into real change on the ground.  No process of reform can be successful without proper accountability, and for this Strategic Plan to be truly meaningful, prisoners must have confidence that the system will operate fairly and that where their rights are not respected, they should be able to challenge those practices through fair and proper procedures.”

For all media enquiries, or to arrange an interview with Liam Herrick, please contact: Fíona Ní Chinnéide on 087-1812990

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

1. Irish Prison Service Strategic Plan 2012 - 2014

The IPS Strategic Plan 2012 – 2014 was launched by Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr Alan Shatter on Monday, 30th April 2012. The document is available here: http://irishprisons.ie/index.php/3-year-plan

2. Thornton Hall Review Group report (July 2011):

In May 2011, IPRT made a written submission to the Review Group on Thornton Hall, available here. Many of IPRT’s recommendations to the Thornton Hall Review Group were reflected in the principles included in the final Report of Thornton Hall Project Review Group published on 28th July 2011, available here.

3. 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.