Prison officers claim assault figures are inaccurate

They say the indirect assaults against them are not being recorded

Prison officers claim assault figures are inaccurate

File photo. Picture by: Marijan Murat/DPA/PA Images

Prison officers claim figures showing assaults on them are not reflecting the reality of the situation.

The annual conference of the Prison Officers Association (POA) has heard many officers believe the rule of law has disappeared.

It is believed they are looking for an independent analysis of assault numbers committed by inmates against staff.

Jim Mitchell is the deputy general-secretary of the POA.

He told Newstalk Breakfast figures made public about assaults by prisoners are inaccurate.

"We don't believe that the assaults figure that (has) been out out of 107 over the last year is reflective of the amount of officers that have been injured as the result of assault by prisoners.

"Obviously there's the direct assault where a prisoner comes straight for you - but there's also many assaults a result of interventions between prisoners which we believe are not being categorised as assaults.

"Yet our people are just as injured and their families are just as affected.

File photo

"You take a look - particularly at places where there's gangs - and the logistical difficulties of actually intervening between two groups of gangs: one that might be sent after another one or there might be an inter-gang rivalry or something of that nature.

"We have to, and we're duty-bound to actually go and intervene in that and we pick up those assaults."

"Prisoners by their nature... if they're going after another prisoner and a prison officer intervenes, they're careless as to what happens to that prison officer and a prison officer does end up injured".

"We don't believe that those figures are being included in the statistics".

He says for example, from the start of this year there has been one assault in Mountjoy Prison per week "yet that won't be reflected in the figures".

But he says they want to talk solution, not get bogged down in numbers: "Next thing we end up arguing about statistics - not the actual assaults, not the actual solutions to it or what we see as preventative measures.

"From our perspective, it's changing the narrative - we're going into statistics.

"if there's one thing that we've learned in this country in the recent time, is that there's statistics and then there's the truth".