Tuesday, 20 October 2020
Department of Justice and Equality
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 main function of the Inspector of Prisons is to carry out regular inspections of prisons and places of detention in Ireland.
The Inspector also investigates deaths of prisoners in custody and has oversight of the prisoner complaints procedure in the Irish Prison Service.
I was pleased to see 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.
Section 32 of the Prisons Act 2007 provides that the Inspector of Prisons shall submit a report to me as Minister, not later than 31 March in any year or such later date as may be specified by me, on the performance of the Inspector’s functions during the previous year.
The Inspector has notified me that due to competing priorities and current resources, the inspector was not in a position to submit the report for 2019 within the specified timeframe.
I hope to be in a position to publish the report for 2019 as soon as possible and as the Deputy may appreciate, the 2020 annual report will not be collated until year end.