Minister McEntee welcomes the development and publication of the Inspection Framework for Prisons in Ireland


15 September, 2020


The Minister for Justice and Equality, Helen McEntee TD, has today welcomed the publication of the Inspection Framework for Prisons in Ireland by the Inspector of Prions, Ms. Patricia Gilheaney. 


Speaking at the launch, Minister McEntee said,


“I know the Inspectorate is committed to undertaking a comprehensive and systemic programme of inspections of Ireland’s prisons - in an independent, transparent manner with a focus on improvement and prevention and I very much welcome and support this work.  A key requirement of this commitment is the development of an Inspection Framework, and – with this in mind - I am delighted to launch this Framework today.


The Inspection Framework sets out how the Inspectorate will conduct inspections of prisons in Ireland. It is informed by the statutory underpinning of the Inspector in legislation, national legislation relating to prisons and prisoners’ rights, and international obligations owing to prisoners. 


It also draws upon relevant international human rights standards, in particular the preventive approach, and standards set by the Optional Protocol to the United Nations.


Development of the Inspection Framework involved consultation with a wide range of stakeholders in Ireland and abroad, including the Department of Justice and Equality, the Department of Education and Skills, non-governmental organisations, the Council of Europe, academics and other experts.


Minister McEntee highlighted the importance of oversight mechanisms in achieving the shared aim of reducing re-offending, improving prisoner outcomes and delivering important rehabilitation initiatives and stated,


“I know that the Inspector will continue to play a vital role in providing valuable external scrutiny of Prisons in Ireland, a role now underpinned by this best-practice Framework”.




Notes for editors


The Office of the Inspector of Prisons is a statutory body, independent in how it carries out its work, set up under the Prisons Act 2007. A key objective for the Office of the Inspector of Prisons is to deliver a robust programme of inspection throughout all of Ireland’s prisons, guided by an Inspection Framework based on international good practice.


The Inspection Framework is based on five focus areas, measured against three dimensions.


‘Focus Areas’ are the major factors which affect, and reflect, the welfare and human rights of prisoners and others working in and visiting prisons.


Five Focus Areas will be used as appropriate for each inspection:



‘Dimensions’ are the overarching and crosscutting criteria of an inspection. Three Dimensions will be used to assess each of the Focus areas, as follows:



The Focus Areas and Dimensions will be assessed using measures drawn from a range of sources including legal requirements, international guidelines and best practice. 


A copy of the Inspection Framework document can be found on the Department of Justice & Equality website here: