May 10, 2021
Reform needed within the Irish Prison Service – Pa Daly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Law Reform, Equality and Integration Pa Daly TD has highlighted the need for reform within the Irish Prison Service.

Speaking after a Prime Time report into conditions in Portlaoise Prison, Teachta Daly said: 
 
“There is clearly a momentum towards change within the Prison Service, and much progress has been and will continue to be made.
 
“At the same time, old attitudes clearly sometimes prevail and resistance to necessary and important changes is present. Covid has done much to set things back, and momentum for reform must now be regained.
 
“This can be done in a number of different ways.

“Prisoners must be correctly categorised, and low risk prisoners assigned to open prisons where possible.

“Prisons should carry out an assessment of prisoners within the first week to assess eligibility for transfer to open prisons straight away rather than after half of a sentence has been served.

“The possibility of judges to sentence someone directly to an open prison should be explored.
 
“A proper and independent complaints procedure and more resources for inspections must be made available. I am working on legislation in this area and hope to move a Private Members’ Bill soon.
 
“Finally, I am eager to hear details of the vaccination programme in prisons, having submitted Parliamentary Questions on the matter. It may be politically unpalatable for some but a proper vaccination regime is the humane and sound option from a public health perspective.”

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