08/05/2014

Prison Officers' Association Call For Independent Ombudsman

The President of the Prison Officers' Association has called for the establishment of an Prison Ombudsman, with the remit to independent investigate prisoner complaints.

Stephen Delaney made the call at the Annual Delegate Conference, being held in Sligo, saying: "We are seriously concerned about the current Complaints Procedure operating within the Prison Service.

"This system was introduced in January 2013 and is overly weighted in favour of the complainant. The overwhelming majority of complaints made since the legislation was introduced have not been upheld.

"It is well established that vexatious complaints can be part of the prison system and this is a most serious issue for prison officers. In the recently published Douche Report there was a recommendation in regard to the establishment of a Prison Ombudsman.

"The POA would fully support the appointment of an independent Ombudsman to investigate prisoner complaints – something we have called for in the past. The practice of the Inspector of Prisons having oversight of the Complaints Procedure has proven to be most unsatisfactory."

(MH)

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