Irish Penal Reform Trust

Round-up: Prison Culture Report

6th November 2015

On 3rd November 2015, the Office of the Inspector of Prisons published the review entitled Culture and Organisation in the Irish Prison Service - A Road Map for the Future. The aim of the review was to carry out an assessment of the culture within the Irish Prison Service (IPS) and the extent to which it facilitates or hinders the development of the IPS.  The 96-page review covers a wide range of structural, organisational and educational aspects of the Irish Prison Service over six chapters, with an additional short chapter specifically on prisoners.  IPRT responded to the review by stating that prison management, prison officers and trade unions each have a responsibility to work together within their respective roles towards their common goals: a humane prison system and a safer community for all.  However, the media coverage of issues and concerns raised by the review focused on a small part of the 96-page report which referenced the lack of a clear operational strategy to deal with gangs in prisons.  While the issue of gang activity mentioned in the review is a serious issue, the authors of the review explain their approach as to first address the culture within the organisation and the main group of staff.  Once that is addressed, it is the belief of the review that positive changes for prisoners will come about as a result.  The wider context of the review was lost in the media coverage which focused on gang activity. 

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