Significant increase in attacks on prison staff in Midlands

Significant increase in attacks on prison staff in Midlands

Significant increase in attacks on prison staff in Midlands

New figures also show an increase in attacks by prisoners.

Last year there was a significant increase in assaults in prisons in the Midlands.

New figures show 19 staff members at Midlands Prison were assaulted by prisoners in 2023, up from 13 in 2022, compared to 2023.

Last year, there were 92 assaults on other prisoners at Midlands Prison, an increase of more than a third on the year before.

In 2023, Portlaoise Prison recorded 12 assaults on other prisoners, seven more than the previous year, but there were no assaults on staff by prisoners.

Last year, 110 staff members in institutions across the country were attacked by inmates, and 663 attacks occurred between inmates. That’s a 74% increase from 2022.

The Irish Prison Service says its staff work in an “extremely challenging environment” and any form of violence against a guard is unacceptable.

It also states that all violent acts must be reported to the Gardaí and that there is specific legislation to deal with attacks on prison staff.

In a statement to Midlands 103, a Irish Prison Service Spokesperson say:

Section 19 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994 makes specific provision for assaults or threats against police officers, including prison officers, acting in the exercise of their duties.

The Minister of Justice announced in November last year that the maximum sentence for such assaults would be increased from 7 to 12 years.

It is also vital that staff who are victims of an attack or witnesses to incidents in our prisons receive the necessary support afterwards.

All employees have access to the Employee Assistance Programme, with 3 full-time national Employee Assistance Officers.

The EAP is supported at local prison level by a network of almost fifty volunteer staff assistants.

This support network provides a confidential service of information, advice and referrals on a wide range of personal and work-related issues. The Employee Assistance Programme plays an important role in supporting staff, particularly those who have been injured in the line of duty.

The provision of an independent employee advisory service, offered by Inspire Workplaces, is an important addition to the support available to employees.

This free Counselling Service is completely confidential and is designed to help employees resolve personal or work-related issues. It is a free helpline available 24 hours a day, with access to up to 6 counselling sessions for support covering a wide range of issues.

The feedback from the staff about this service is very positive.”