Inspector finds 'disturbing issues' in St Patrick's

Wed, May 23, 2012, 01:00

“DISTURBING ISSUES” have come to light concerning St Patrick’s Institution for young offenders, according to the Inspector of Prisons, Judge Michael Reilly.

Judge Reilly said in his annual report for 2011, published yesterday, he had commenced an investigation into St Patrick’s, involving both announced and unannounced visits during the day, at night and at weekends. “This investigation is far-reaching and time-consuming. I will submit my report to the Minister in due course,” he said.

He pointed out in the annual report that during the year he had published a number of reports on individual prisons and on issues within the prisons, including prisoners’ physical and mental health and a system for dealing properly with prisoner complaints.

He had drawn the attention of the secretary general of the Department of Justice and the director of the Prison Service to these issues and had planned to summarise his conclusions from four years as inspector and outline recommendations for the future in this report.

However, as the Prison Service is finalising a strategic plan for 2012-2014, he said he was deferring this until three months after its publication.

He said he was also conducting an investigation, at the request of the Minister, into the death of a prisoner on remand on December 20th last. He would submit a report on it in due course.

He pointed out that Limerick Prison did not comply with international best practice and certain areas of it were not fit for purpose late last year, as stated in his report on this prison, published in November. He had found that Arbour Hill was a well-run prison.

He reported that he had maintained his contact with international bodies such as the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, the Council of Europe and the UN during the year, along with a range of other international and domestic organisations with an interest in prisoner welfare.