Irish Penal Reform Trust

Irish Examiner: 'Inmate deaths lead to call for culture change'

7th August 2018

On Tuesday 7 August 2018, the Irish Examiner reported on concerns highlighted by two previous prison inspectors around the accuracy of records being kept by prison officers.

The report details that former Inspector of Prisons, the late Judge Michael Reilly, made repeated calls for inaccuracies in record-keeping to be addressed. These concerns were reiterated by the former Acting Inspector of Prisons, Helen Casey, who had similar findings. The Irish Examiner article details that out of the 87 reports on investigations into prisoner deaths published, 12 raise these concerns, with 11 out of the 12 prisoners being held under special observation.

Deirdre Malone, IPRT Executive Director, spoke to the Irish Examiner about the issue and the frustration evident in the inspectors’ reports. Ms Malone spoke of the importance of adhering to special observation guidelines, explaining that “the reason that prisoners on ‘special obs’ are required to be checked on every 15 minutes is that they have already been identified as vulnerable.”

Ms Malone highlighted her concern about whether or not there is a “practice in the IPS of obfuscating the truth”. She continues “in terms of the regularity with which we are seeing this coming up in the reports of the inspector, I think we can say that this is certainly something that requires significant examination and analysis as to why, when it has been identified, that it is continuing.”

Ms Malone also suggests that one of the reasons for lack of completion of necessary checks is prison overcrowding and the pressure this places on officers.

To read the full article, click here.

See more:

Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.



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