As the Deputy is aware the Irish Prison Service launched a new three year Strategy in April 2012. The Strategy is underpinned by a vision of providing ‘A safer community through excellence in a prison service built on respect for human dignity’. To underpin this strategy the Irish Prison Service intends to introduce a Dignity at Work Charter and a prison wide dignity and respect campaign with the aim of creating a positive and caring environment for staff and prisoners. Everyone in the Irish Prison service should be committed to treating everyone fairly, with courtesy, respecting personal dignity at all times. These principles will be at the heart of what the Irish Prison Service sets out to achieve in the coming years and into the future in all strategic actions.
I am informed by the Director General that a Working Group, comprising of representatives from Human Resources and Corporate Affairs Directorates, the Prison Officers’ Association, the Legal and Professional Standards Unit, the Employee Assistance Service and the Psychology Service, was established to deliver on this commitment. Work on phase 1 of the dignity at work programme finished in the past few weeks. This phase comprised of significant staff consultation which was undertaken through the holding of 19 focus groups at prison level. A number of subgroups have been established to identify the common issues raised and work in this regard will continue over the coming months. It is hoped that by addressing these issues we will be able to implement what is needed to make and create a working environment which is based on co-operation, openness, equality and respect.