The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) has welcomed the appointment of Patricia Gilheaney as the new Inspector of Prisons and has called on her to prioritise the frequency of prison inspections and the publication of associated reports when she takes up her new role next month.
Commenting, Executive Director of IPRT, Deirdre Malone said: “We warmly welcome the appointment of Ms Gilheaney to the vitally important role of Inspector of Prisons and we look forward to working constructively with her office. Behind bars there always exists the potential for abuse. It is for that reason that effective and independent oversight of our prison system is absolutely crucial.
“There has been only one prison inspection report by the Office of the Inspector of Prisons, published by the Minister for Justice, in the last four years. We hope and expect that the newly appointed Inspector will prioritise increasing the frequency of inspections and reports, and that she will be provided with sufficient resources, including staff resources, to meet the significant demands on her office.”
She added: “We also hope that this appointment will provide a fresh impetus to expedite the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT). Ireland has a dark history of failing to protect those who reside behind locked doors. Out of sight and voiceless, those in closed spaces are our most vulnerable. Ratification would ensure that comprehensive inspection mechanisms are in place anywhere where people are deprived of their liberty in Ireland.
“We would also like to acknowledge the work of Helen Casey, who, since Judge Michael Reilly’s untimely death in November 2016, has continued to carry out the role of Inspector.”
Contact: Sebastian Enke, DHR Communications, Tel: 01-4200580 / 087-3239496
Note to Editors:
About the IPRT
Established in 1994, the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) is Ireland's leading non-governmental organisation campaigning for rights in the penal system and the progressive reform of Irish penal policy. Its vision is one of respect for rights in the penal system, with prison as a last resort. IPRT is committed to respecting the rights of everyone in the penal system and to reducing imprisonment. It is working towards progressive reform of the penal system based on evidence-led policies and on a commitment to combating social injustice.
IPRT publishes a wide range of policy positions and research documents; it campaigns vigorously across a wide range of penal policy issues; and has established itself as the leading independent voice in public debate on the Irish penal system.