17th January 2012
The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) welcomes the publication of the Inspector of Prisons’ Report on an Inspection of Limerick Prison, First follow up Report on Limerick Prison and Action plan for IOP Limerick Report, published today (17 January 2012). Although the reports point to serious deficiencies in Limerick Prison, IPRT believes it is significant that an action plan to address the problems has been put in place; moreover, that is has been made public immediately indicates a positive move towards increased accountability. IPRT also welcomes the Minister for Justice’s unequivocal acknowledgment of the problems at the prison.
The reports reveal that over the period of a number of visits to the prison over 2010 and 2011, the Inspector found up to 329 male prisoners held in cells designed for 185 (and up to 41 women in space for 24) in conditions that were consistently dirty and unhygienic, with most having nothing to do all day as only one of the prison’s ten workshops was open.
Responding to the publication of the reports, Liam Herrick, Executive Director of the Irish Penal Reform Trust, said:
“These reports by the Inspector show, on the one hand, an alarming failure to address basic deficiencies in Limerick over an extended period of time, including failures to repair broken windows, address prison hygiene or repair plumbing failures.
“However, in the last two months there has been some progress, with follow up visits by the Inspector leading to crucial improvements, and the Irish Prison Service putting an Action Plan in place to address the Inspector’s recommendations. The fact that the Minister has published these reports immediately and unequivocally accepted its recommendations is a very positive step as well.
"While we very much welcome the immediate publication of the latest Report and Action Plan as a positive move towards transparency and accountability, it is crucial now that the Action Plan is met.”
A previous deadline of 1st July 2011 set by the Inspector of Prisons for action on issues including dirty areas of prisons, unpainted areas of prisons, unacceptable conditions of cells, broken or leaking equipment, and broken windows, had not been met by the time of the November inspection. However, these issues have since been largely addressed, according to the follow-up report.
Among the serious issues which still remain to be addressed are:
For all media enquiries, or to arrange an interview with Liam Herrick, please contact:
Fíona Ní Chinnéide, Campaigns & Communications Officer, Irish Penal Reform Trust
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
Inspector of Prisons – Reports
The following were published by the Minister for Justice on 17th January, 2012:
These documents an be accessed here: http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/PB12000006
3. Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) | www.iprt.ie
IPRT is Ireland's leading non-governmental organisation campaigning for the rights of everyone in prison and the progressive reform of Irish penal policy, with prison as a last resort.