On the 15 September 2020, the Minister for Justice and Equality, Helen McEntee TD, launched the Framework for the Inspection of Prisons in Ireland. The Office of the Inspector of Prisons was delighted that the Minister could take time out of her very busy schedule to launch the Framework.

Speaking at the launch, Minister McEntee stated “I know the Inspectorate is committed to undertaking a comprehensive and systemic programme of inspections of Ireland’s prisons – in an independent, transparent manner with a focus on improvement and prevention and I very much welcome and support this work. A key requirement of this commitment is the development of an Inspection Framework, and – with this in mind – I am delighted to launch this Framework”. The press release is available here.

The launch took place via an online webinar and there were a number of insightful contributions on the day.

Professor Shane Kilcommins, Head of the School of Law, University of Limerick set the scene as to why effective oversight of prisons is essential. Patricia Gilheaney, Inspector of Prisons provided an overview of the Framework for the Inspection of Prisons in Ireland. Dr. Ciara O’Connell, Sophie van der Valk and Sarah Curristan from the Prisons: the Rule of Law, Accountability and Rights (PRILA) project based at the School of Law, Trinity College presented details on their research on prison oversight in Ireland.

Finally, the Director General of the Irish Prison Service, Caron McCaffrey provided her response to the Framework. The Director General in her response welcomed the Framework and stated she is “confident that the implementation of this new inspection framework will have a positive impact” in the Irish Prison Service and for “broader stakeholders”. The Director General advised that she is looking forward to working in dialogue with the Inspectorate to “raise standards and improve lives”.

The Office of the Inspector of Prisons would like to thank all of the contributors and hope that attendees found the event informative.

Presentation material from the launch is available at the links below: