Government approval to publish the Draft General Scheme of the Irish Prison Service Bill 2023 was recently secured by the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee; her department is now due to start work with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel on drafting the Bill.
The Irish Prison Service Bill aims to establish both the Irish Prison Service and its Director General on a statutory footing with defined functions and responsibilities. It will also provide oversight and support from an independent non-executive board, with further support to be provided by a dedicated audit committee and other expert committees as required.
These new structures will provide the IPS with expert guidance and oversight in implementing the government’s penal policy reform programme, in managing capital projects and in ensuring the highest standards of governance and accountability in the prison system.
This will complement the mainly human rights-focused oversight already provided by external entities such as the Inspector of Prisons, the Prison Visiting Committees, and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture.