Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (560)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

572 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if prison officers receive any specialist training with regard to family visits. [34863/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice and Equality)

I am advised by the Director General of the Irish Prison Service that Prison Officers working in visiting areas, gates, security, screening units, external posts or any other area where there may come into contact with prisoners' families, receive ‘area specific' training. All of these training programmes highlight the critical necessity for prison staff to behave in a professional, courteous, polite manner to all visitors.

The training emphasises the inherent human rights and dignity of every member of the prison community which includes all visitors to our prisons. In addition to this ‘area specific training', all prison officers are provided with training in order to equip them with the necessary skills and attributes to meet their obligations to the prisoners in their care, visitors to prisons and to the wider community.

The Irish Prison Service training, higher education programmes, policies and procedures are designed to increase prison personnel's understanding of human behaviour, familiarise them with the interactions and processes of different groups within society in order to ensure that they share and promote the core values espoused in the Irish Prison Service mission and vision statements. To further strengthen this approach the Irish Prison Service is currently drafting a Dignity at Work Charter and a prison wide dignity and respect awareness programme for all prison personnel. The programme highlights the requirement to treat all members of the prison community, including visitors, prisoners' families, staff and management with dignity, respect, courtesy and in a professional manner.