Serious Concerns About the Promotion Process in Prison Service Statement from Prison Officers Association (POA), Annual Delegate Conference, Galway- Friday 28 April 2017
Members of the Prison Officers Association expressed serious concerns about the promotion process for prison officers at their annual delegate conference in Galway this morning.
John Clinton, General Secretary of the POA said today, “Following an independent survey of our members we passed a motion on the issue of promotion procedures at our conference this morning to the effect that we urgently need a ‘complete review of the promotion procedures’ for all grades represented by the Prison Officers Association. We now want to enter into discussions with the Irish Prison Service on implementing the recommendations of this independent review as a matter on urgency”
Clinton continued, “Following recent promotion competitions there were numerous complaints made directly to the union about the way the promotions process was operating. In particular our members raised numerous concerns that the current appeals mechanism does not have the power to rectify injustices found in the promotion process, so is of limited value to those who believe they have experienced such blatant injustices”
Clinton continued, ‘The POA recently commissioned the University of Limerick (UL) to review the promotion process and the findings are quite alarming. For example, ‘95% of prison officers feel the promotion process lacks openness and transparency’ and just 2% of those surveyed felt the ‘appeals process was handled fairly’. This level of dissatisfaction is simply not acceptable or sustainable and is having a major impact on the morale of our members.
We are now urging the Irish Prison Service to respond to the key recommendation of the ‘UL review’ and carry out a full and thorough review of the promotion system as a matter of urgency”
Clinton concluded, “We need a promotion process which is benchmarked to international systems, has a clear and just policy on the composition of interview boards and a clear policy on how bias is removed from the process. Merit should be only basis for promotion and this is not the case at present”
Statement from Prison Officers Association (POA), Annual Delegate Conference, Galway - Friday 28 April 2017
CONCERN EXPRESSED AT POA CONFERENCE THAT THE PASSIVE EFFECTS OF DRUGS BEING USED BY PRISONERS COULD SHOW POSITIVE ON PRISON OFFICERS DRUG DRIVING TESTS
The issue of the passive effects of drugs being used by prisoners showing positive in prison officers drug drive testing was discussed at the Prison Officers Association Conference in Galway this morning.
Jim Mitchell, Deputy General Secretary of the POA said today, “Our members work in an environment where others use drugs on an ongoing basis and there is concern that the passive effects can show up as a positive in a drug driving test. We passed a motion on this issue today at our conference to the effect that we want immediate discussions with the Irish Prison Service on this issue”
Mitchell continued, “Drug use is part and parcel of prison life for some prisoners, despite our best efforts to deny access at entry points through searches and the use of electronic systems. So in responding to the possibility of flawed drug driving tests on our members, we must face the reality of drug use in our prisons and take some action. The IPS have a responsibility in this and we expect they will enter meaningful discussions in the coming weeks”
We are particularly concerned that not alone are the established drugs being accessed by prisoners but also the new ‘novel psychoactive substances’ are also in use in our prisons.
Speaking at the Prison Officers Association, Annual Delegate Conference in Galway today, Jim Mitchell, Deputy General Secretary of the POA said, “Gang warfare and drug culture continue to flourish within the prison estate. In the current environment we have threats, assaults, drugs, weapons, attacks on family homes and the capacity to control matters outside the prison. This is a matter of serious concern for all of us”
“The status quo cannot remain. We must – and this is the responsibility of the Minister and the Prison Service – develop a system that removes the power from the gangs and the gang members within our prisons by whatever means are necessary. Otherwise the entire prison system is failing society and especially the section of the prison population, who are not involved in thuggery. Gangs should not exert control at any level in our prisons – and if we don’t have stringent policies and plans on this ongoing threat we will pay the inevitable price”
Mitchell continued, “We have to again question this agenda of appeasement; rather than making the membership of a gang something to be avoided or hidden. We are told that any attempts to isolate these individuals will be resisted in the courts and will get significant support in some quarters. Let us go the courts on this issue and see where it takes us. Prison gangs should not decide what is best within our prison, the state is responsible for all that happens inside our prisons and surely it is not going to cede this responsibility to people who have committed the most serious crimes – and many who have no intention whatever of changing their ways.
The full text of the Presidential Address by Mr Stephen Delaney to the Annual Delegate Conference of the Prison Officers Association given today, 27th April 2017 in the Radisson Hotel Galway can be accessed in the Conference section of this website.