Twelve sex allegations made by prisoners against authorities

Irish Prison Service says one of 47 ‘Category A’ allegations made this year upheld so far

There have been 21 allegations of assault, three alleged racist incidents and six claims of mistreatment in the last year, according to Irish Prison Service figures. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

There have been 21 allegations of assault, three alleged racist incidents and six claims of mistreatment in the last year, according to Irish Prison Service figures. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Twelve allegations of a sexual nature have been made by inmates against prison authorities this year.

There have been 21 allegations of assault, three alleged racist incidents, six claims of mistreatment and five complaints about intimidation over the same period.

The Irish Prison Service (IPS) refers to the incidents as “category A” complaints.

They are the most serious in a scale of complaints against prison officers and, if upheld, are deemed likely to bring discredit on the State’s penal system.

All “category A” complaints must be investigated by authorities unconnected to the prison service.

Figures released to The Irish Times by the IPS show the breakdown of the 47 allegations to date this year.

The IPS said only one of the 47 allegations made this year had been upheld. It declined to give the details.

Another 16 were “not upheld”; two were “not proved”; three were “terminated” by the IPS director general Michael Donnellan, under Prison Rules legislation and five were “withdrawn”.

The investigation of 20 allegations remains “incomplete”.

The current rate of around seven alleged most serious incidents every month is up from less than six a month last year.

The breakdown shows the highest number of the most serious complaints were from Portlaoise, the maximum security jail for inmates convicted by the Special Criminal Court, and Cloverhill in west Dublin, a medium security prison mainly for inmates on remand.

Ten “category A” complaints have been made against officers at each of the prisons this year to date.

The Midlands Prison, a medium security facility for adult male offenders, and Castlerea, a medium security jail for remand and sentenced men in Co Roscommon, are both dealing with seven complaints this year.

Mountjoy, Dublin’s main prison, and Dóchas, the woman’s prison next door to it, are each investigating four allegations.

There were three complaints made at Wheatfield, in Clondalkin, which has a high number of sex offenders and inmates serving life sentences for murder, and two at Cork Prison, the main prison for the south of the country.

There were none from Dublin’s Arbour Hill, which holds a high number of sex offenders and older inmates; St Patrick’s Institution for young offenders; Limerick Prison, which holds men and women, or the Training Unit, a semi-open low-security prison in the grounds of Mountjoy, Dublin.

Last year, out of 70 complaints just six were upheld, two were part-upheld, 53 were not upheld, eight were “unfounded” and one was “re-categorised”.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said all prisoners have the right to make a complaint at any time and “all complaints are treated with the utmost seriousness.”