Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (534)

Jonathan O'Brien


546 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the new Inspector of Prisons will have the powers to compel witnesses to give evidence; the level of involvement the family of a deceased prisoner will have; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34837/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice and Equality)

I presume the Deputy is referring to my announcement in April 2012 that the death of any prisoner in the custody of the Irish Prison Service will be the subject of an independent investigation by the Inspector of Prisons.

There is already a statutory obligation on persons employed in prisons to provide information as requested by the Inspector in the performance of his functions. I am looking at the question of enhancing his powers in this area in future legislation.

The conduct of an individual investigation is a matter for the Inspector who is independent in the performance of his functions. He has advised me that he does intend to consult with the family of deceased prisoners in the context of such investigations.