The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, has today welcomed the publication of the Office of the Inspector of Prisons Strategy Statement 2020-2023.
The Strategic Plan from the Inspector of Prisons, which is the first of its kind, sets out the vision for the office of the Inspector over the period up to and including 2023, identifying the actions required to realise these.
The strategy has two key elements; an Inspectorate focussed on the delivery of a comprehensive programme of prison inspections and the pending requirements in respect of Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.
To meet these, it is the aim of the office to build up the organisation’s capabilities and capacity to deliver. Welcoming the Statement, Minister McEntee said,
“I very much welcome the development of this important publication by the Inspector of Prisons. The Inspector of Prisons, whose independence in the exercise of her functions is provided for by law, plays a vital role in ensuring effective independent oversight of our prison system.”
The vision of the Inspectorate is “A robust, preventative regime for the inspection of prisons in Ireland, and the investigation of Deaths in Custody, or other investigations relating to the management or operation of a prison, recognised as meeting or exceeding national requirements and international best practice”. Underpinning the Vision are four ambition statements. These objectives, which relate to the current legislative role of the Office, include the following:
- Provide a robust, preventative regime of independent inspections of prisons, which promotes equality and protects human rights.
- Provide a robust regime for investigating Deaths in Custody and / or any matter arising out of the operation or management of a prison.
- Provide public assurance regarding the handling of complaints.
- Build public confidence in the work of the Inspectorate.
Speaking about the importance of the actions outlined in the Strategy the Minister said,
“The importance of delivering a robust programme of inspection throughout all of Ireland’s prisons, guided by an Inspection Framework based on international good practice cannot be understated.
“I recognise that the Inspector is committed to implementing a new operating model for the Inspectorate and I know that the Inspector has an ambitious plan of work for 2021. I fully support her in her work.
“To this end, I am pleased to report that there has been an increase in the 2021 budget for the Inspector of Prisons of just over €0.75m, bringing the total 2021 allocation to €1.954 million. This total allocation represents an increase of over 60% compared to the Inspectorate's 2020 budget, and over 290% when compared to 2019.”
A copy of the Strategy Statement is available on the website of the Department of Justice here: Office of the Inspector of Prisons Strategic Plan (2020 - 2023)