IPRT - Irish Penal Reform Trust

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Culture and Organisation in the Irish Prison Service - A Road Map for the Future.

6th November 2015

On Tuesday 3rd  November 2015, the Office of the Inspector of Prisons published its review of the Irish Prison Service entitled Culture and Organisation in the Irish Prison Service - A Road Map for the Future.  The terms of reference for the review were “to carry out an assessment of the current culture within the Irish Prison Service (IPS) and the extent to which it facilitates or hinders the development of the Service”.  The authors of the review are Judge Michael Reilly, who is the Inspector of Prisons, and Professor Andrew Coyle, who is a former prison governor and leading authority on prison issues.   The review focuses primarily on the IPS as an organisation and also on its staff, with very little to say on prisoners.  The rationale for this focus is explained as being because of time limitation, the terms of reference and a belief that positive change for prisoners would come about as a result of a change of culture within the organisation and the main group of staff.

The review suggests ways for the IPS to be organised in a more efficient manner including a new location for IPS headquarters which would be more accessible to prisons.  Staffing and management structures are given particular attention throughout the review with recommendations made across a number of areas including staffing structure and training, relationships between management and staff, and staff learning and development.  Some issues relating to prisoners were considered such as how prisoners are classified and assessed, isolation, safety, rehabilitation and seven specific topics for future review. International comparisons are drawn with the Norwegian Department of Corrections and the Scottish Prison Service because they have a number of similarities to the Irish Prison Service.  IPRT provided both written and oral submissions to the review.

The Review is available here.