Ombudsman expected to call for independent complaints body for prisoners

The Irish Penal Reform Trust says it would require "adequate financial resources and requisite expertise"

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Peter Tyndall. Image:

The Ombudsman and Information Commissioner is expected to call for an independent complaints body for prisoners today.

Peter Tyndall's expected to urge the Government to bring inmates under his remit at a conference in Dublin today.

Under current rules, those behind bars can only address their complaints to the Irish Prison Service.

The Irish Penal Reform Trust is backing the call.

However, Executive Director Deirdre Malone says it must be resourced properly.

"We'd welcome [it] as a pragmatic step, but of course as with any mechanism it depends on having adequate resources. That means adequate financial resources and also requisite expertise," she explained.

"Prisons are places where people live and work. So complaints within prisons can range from minor things like visiting hours and access to medical treatment, right up to allegations of serious assault," she added.

Ms Malone says there is also a responsibility to ensure abuses of prisoners' humanity does not happen behind bar: