Prisons Act 2007

Functions of Inspector.

31.— (1) The Inspector of Prisons shall carry out regular inspections of prisons and for that purpose may—

(a) at any time enter any prison or any part of a prison,

(b) request and obtain from the governor a copy of any books, records, other documents (including documents stored in non-legible form) or extracts therefrom kept there, and

(c) in the course of an inspection or arising out of an inspection bring any issues of concern to him or her to the notice of the governor of the prison concerned, the Director-General of the Irish Prison Service, or the Minister or of each one of them, as the Inspector considers appropriate.

(2) The Inspector may, and shall if so requested by the Minister, investigate any matter arising out of the management or operation of a prison and shall submit to the Minister a report on any such investigation.

(3) As soon as practicable after receiving the report, the Minister shall, subject to subsection (4), cause a copy of it to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas and to be published.

(4) The Minister may omit any matter from any report so laid or published where he or she is of opinion—

(a) that its disclosure may be prejudicial to the security of the prison or of the State, or

(b) after consultation with the Secretary-General to the Government, that its disclosure—

(i) would be contrary to the public interest, or

(ii) may infringe the constitutional rights of any person.

(5) Where any matters are so omitted, a statement to that effect shall be attached to the report concerned on its being laid before each House of the Oireachtas and on its publication.

(6) It is not a function of the Inspector to investigate or adjudicate on a complaint from an individual prisoner, but he or she may examine the circumstances relating to the complaint where necessary for performing his or her functions.

(7) Governors and other prison officers, other persons employed in prisons and prisoners shall, as far as reasonably practicable, comply with any request for information that the Inspector may make in the performance of his or her functions.