THE way in which privileges such as extra visits and phone calls are given to prisoners in Cork and other prisons is currently under review.
The Incentivised Regimes Policy on privileges was introduced across the prison system in 2012, and is now being reviewed to assess if any changes are needed to the system. The review began in Cork on November 30 and is being conducted throughout the prison system.
Since 2012, there are three different levels of privileges in prisons, with the aim of giving inmates an incentive for good behaviour.
A spokesman for the Irish Prison System said: “All prisoners on committal to prison are assigned to standard regime level. There are three regime levels — basic, standard, and enhanced, and different privileges are associated with each level of regime.
“The standard set of core privileges provided in each prison comprises of different levels of daily gratuity, the number and length of visits a prisoner may receive, and the number of telephone calls a prisoner is allowed to make. The list of available additional privileges is likely to vary between prisons and within different areas of a prison, depending on the operational and infrastructure requirements of each prison.”
He added: “Examples of other incentives offered include improved accommodation, eg move from dormitory accommodation to a single room in an open centre. Prisoners can also gain access to employment opportunities within the prison eg kitchens, laundries.
“Prisoners must engage in a minimum number of constructive activities and observe the requirements of prison discipline to maintain the standard regime level and work towards enhanced regime level.
“Prisoners who breach prison discipline or who consistently refuse to engage in constructive activity may be moved to basic regime level.”
The spokesman added: “The Steering Group will visit each prison over the coming months to meet with staff and conduct a nationwide survey to ensure that all relevant staff are offered the opportunity to engage in the review. The Steering Group hope to conclude the review and present their findings and any recommendations for change to the Director-General in quarter 2 of 2019.”