Home > Irish Prison Service strategic plan 2016‒2018.

Guiney, Ciara (2017) Irish Prison Service strategic plan 2016‒2018. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 61, Spring 2017, pp. 15-16.

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On 27 June 2016, the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD, launched the Irish Prison Service Strategic Plan, which outlined the main strategic actions that the Irish Prison Service (IPS) will undertake between 2016 and 2018.1 This new strategy, which builds on significant improvements the IPS made during the previous Strategic Plan 2012‒2015, aims to ensure that the prison setting is safe for both prisoners and staff and is centred on dignity of care and on rehabilitation of prisoners.2 Strategic actions to be taken include staff support, prisoner support, victim support, enhancing organisation capacity, and delivering strategy and monitoring progress.


Staff support

The IPS will aim to create a work environment where employees have a voice and are involved in the development of the organisation. It will be based on dignity and respect, and the behaviour and ethics of employees and management will be guided by well-defined standards. Central to achieving IPS organisational objectives are employee competencies. Thus, the introduction of a competency framework will guide and inform recruitment, training, employee performance, and continuous professional development. The IPS intends to protect and enhance well-being of all employees while also ensuring that employees work in a fair, inclusive setting, where they are treated equally and enjoy the same rights. Health, safety and well-being are considered essential components of a safe work environment, which the IPS is taking necessary steps to achieve. For example, the IPS intends to implement recommendations identified in a review of assaults by prisoners on prison staff,3 avail of a multidisciplinary risk management approach, evaluate ways to reduce exposure to violent prisoners, and invest in new technologies to increase safety. To further enhance safety, procedures will be standardised and will comply with existing road safety and health and safety legislation.


Prisoner support

Prisoner rehabilitation that aids reintegration back into society remains prominent in this plan. The aim is to manage sentences by nurturing and assisting prisoners to live as law-abiding citizens that have a purpose via constructive and structured activities. The structure of the IPS Psychology Service is to be brought into line with recommendations put forward in the New Connections report.4 Additional resources are to be assigned to enable the service to provide a wider range of interventions. The plan also takes into consideration the needs of prisoners with mental health and addiction problems, young offenders, older prisoners, and minority groups. By building on existing collaborative arrangements with the Probation Service, and other statutory and community services, the aim is to make the transition back into society safe and effective.


Victim support

The intention is to engage with victims of crime honestly, acknowledging their fears and their right to be heard and treated in a respectful and dignified manner. Prisoners will be provided with a route to address and accept responsibility for their actions, allowing them to make amends to society. The aim is also to increase victim awareness among prisoners.


Enhancing organisation capacity

In order to achieve the main goals of the strategic plan, it is vital that the organisational structure of the IPS is fit for purpose. The intention is to ensure that systems, structures, processes, procedures, and culture are in place. Availing of a Strategic People Plan will help the vision, mission, and core values of the IPS to be realised. Additionally, the aim is have a humane and fair penal system that participates in the rehabilitation, reintegration and reduction of offending behaviour in prisoners. The delivery of services and prisoner support, such as education, work training, healthcare, psychology services, and drug treatment, will be sufficiently resourced. While the drive to bring responsibility for prison healthcare services under the remit of the Department of Health and overseen by the Health Service Executive (HSE) will continue, it will further strengthen existing collaborative relationships with the HSE.


Delivering strategy and monitoring progress

The Strategic Plan 2016‒2018 acts as a ‘blueprint and roadmap’ covering a three-year period. Action plans for each strategic action will be prepared to identify actions to be taken in the course of the strategy. Progress will be monitored and reported annually via the IPS Annual Report.



1    Irish Prison Service (2016) Strategic plan 2016‒2018. Longford: Irish Prison Service. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/25735/

2    Irish Prison Service (2012) Three year strategic plan 2012‒2015. Longford: Irish Prison Service. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/17473/

3    State Claims Agency (2016) Review of assaults on operational prison staff by prisoners. Dublin: State Claims Agency. http://stateclaims.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Review-of-Assaults-on-Operational-Prison-Staff-by-Prisoners-November-2016.pdf

4    Porporino FJ (2015) ‘New connections’: embedding psychology services and practice in the Irish Prison Service. Ottawa: T3 Associates Inc. http://www.irishprisons.ie/wp-content/uploads/documents_pdf/porporino_report.pdf

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Crime prevention
Issue Title
Issue 61, Spring 2017
April 2017
Page Range
pp. 15-16
Health Research Board
Issue 61, Spring 2017

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