The Annual Report for the Office of the Inspector of Prisons 2015/2016 is the first published since the passing of Judge Michael Reilly. The report gives an overview of some of the work done and reforms undertaken in the Irish Prison Service since Judge Reilly was appointed as the Inspector of Prisons in January 2008.
Following the death of Judge Reilly, Helen Casey was appointed to continue the work of the office on an interim basis as Acting Inspector of Prisons.
The report acknowledges many reforms and improvements made in the Irish Prison Service in recent years such as:
- the transferring of responsibility for juvenile offenders to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and subsequent decommissioning of St. Patrick’s Institution;
- the newly built Cork Prison;
- improvements in the prison estate;
- the reduction in the prison population and use of slopping out.
However, concerns were raised in the report about:
- the level of mental health issues;
- the number of prisoners on restricted regimes;
- deficiencies in the line management structure;
- and access to school, workshops, support and/or other intervention services.
The report also details some individual prison inspections, deaths in custody and office resources.