Prisoner escort review highlights opportunities for improvement
- · Review Concludes that while the present escort arrangements have many strengths, a number of areas can be improved
- · Minister to establish a delivery oversight group to further assess the recommendations and put in place an implementation programme
- · Review highlights scope to significantly reduce prisoner court appearances through greater use of video-link facilities
The Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan, T.D., has welcomed the findings of a review into prisoner escort services and announced plans to establish an oversight group to assess its recommendations and implement the programme.
The review, entitled ‘Value for Money and Policy Review of Prisoner Escorts in the Criminal Justice System’, found that while the current system has many strengths, there are a number of areas with scope for improvement.
At present, prisoner escorts are carried out by the Prison Service Escort Corps (PSEC), prison based staff, and by An Garda Síochána.
The review identifies the opportunity to:
- significantly reduce the need for prisoner court appearances through greater use of video-link facilities
- introduce legislation to provide for electronic warrants and streamline committal procedures
The report also identified the high cost of reliance on Irish Prison Service and An Garda Síochána officers, a disjointed delivery model and the absence of specialist logistics and technical support expertise as key challenges.
Announcing the oversight group Minister Flanagan said:
“The management and delivery of prisoner escort services is a complex task and one which, at present, is carried out by the Prison Service Escort Corps (PSEC), by prison-based staff and by An Garda Síochána.
“I am pleased to see the review found that our current prisoner escort systems have many strengths, including the efficiency and professionalism of staff. It is also important to acknowledge however that there are areas where we can improve.
“Given the complex nature of this area, and the multi-agency impact of the report’s conclusions and recommendations, I think it is important to establish a delivery oversight group to help further analyse the recommendations and establish an implementation programme.”
Note to Editor:
Value for money reports are part of an ongoing process of expenditure evaluation and are carried out under the DPER Public Spending Code.