Prison Officers Association Deeply Concerned about Concurrent Sentencing of Prisoners who assault prison staff
Press Statement from Prison Officers Association, 8 May 2015
Yesterday, (7th May) a prisoner who had assaulted a member of prison staff was given a three-month concurrent sentence before the District Court. This prisoner has an established record of assaulting prison officers.
Speaking at the Prison Officers Annual Conference today, General Secretary John Clinton said, ‘It is just not acceptable that a prisoner who assaults a member of staff, who after a full and thorough investigation; a costly outing before the civil courts, is found guilty – then receives a concurrent sentence, which in real terms amounts to nothing. A concurrent sentence means that a prisoner who has committed a serious crime in prison and is found guilty of this – will not serve a single additional minute in prison. Consequently he can commit further crime with impunity”
Clinton went on two say, “At our conference we have called for mandatory consecutive sentencing for any prisoner who is found guilty of assaulting a member of staff – and we urge Minister Fitzgerald to follow through on this proposal”
Clinton said, “It is very clear that prison officers need additional protection in the prison environment. There is serious concern that each prison has just a small number of protective vests – and they are normally locked away and not immediately available. Each prison officer should be issued with a personal protective vest, which should be immediately available at times of tension.
Minister Fitzgerald announced the provision of an additional 160 vests, 11 for each prison – and this will not meet the urgent need of providing further support and security to prison officers on duty”
Clinton concluded by saying, “Unfortunately the need for the increase in protection for prison officers has been highlighted in recent months, with six of our members being seriously injured while on duty. In Germany, for example, the level of serious assaults that we have witnessed over the past eight weeks would broadly apply over an eight year period”