Irish Prison Service

The Irish Prison Service (IPS) (Irish: Seírbhis Phríosuin na hÉireann) manages the day-to-day operation of prisons in the Republic of Ireland. Political responsibility for the Ireland's prisons rests with the Minister of the Department of Justice and Equality.

Budget, staff, and figures

As of 2018, the Irish Prison Service oversees 13 facilities with an official capacity of 4,269, and a total population of 3,992, including pretrial detainees. Among all prisoners, 4.6% are female, 16.7% are pretrial detainees, and 1.0% are under the age of 18.[1]

In 2018, the Irish Prison Service had an annual budget of €327.37 million and it had a staff of 3,186 people.[2]


In 1928 the Minister for Justice of the Irish Free State, Kevin O'Higgins, dissolved by statutory instrument the General Prisons Board, which had been established in the pre-independence era to manage the Irish prison system.[3] Thus, the responsibility for the management of the Irish prison system devolved to the minister and his department.[4]

The situation remained thus until in 1999 the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, John O'Donoghue established the Irish Prison Service as an agency to administer Irish prisons. Also in 1999, the Minister created the Prisons Authority Interim Board, whose members were appointed by the Minister, as an advisory board to the Irish Prison Service.[4] In 2002, the first Inspector of Prisons in the post-independence era, retired High Court Judge Dermot Kileen was also appointed by the Minister.[5]

Mission Statement and Services for Prisoners

According to the Irish Prison Service website, their official mission is "providing safe and secure custody, dignity of care and rehabilitation to prisoners for safer communities."[6] In line with this goal, they offer a great many services to prisoners. Drug treatment services involve systematic detoxification and general psychological services to help with rehabilitation.[7] Prisons within the system offers basic education classes, as well as specialized classes in literacy, creative arts, technology, life skills, and healthy living.[8] Work and vocational training programs are also available to prisoners who want to learn them; examples are Braille, woodworking, metalworking, construction, and computers.[9]

See also


  1. Ireland, Republic of, World Prison Brief, Institute for Criminal Policy Research, Birkbeck, University of London.
  2. Irish Prison Service, "Annual Report 2017"
  3. S.I. No. 79/1928 — General Prisons Board (Transfer of Functions) Order, 1928.
  4. Kilcommins, Shane; O'Donnell, Ian; O'Sullivan, Eoin; Vaughan, Barry (2004). Crime, punishment and the search for order in Ireland. Dublin: Institute of Public Administration. p. 43. ISBN 978-1-904541-13-4.
  5. Times Online (6 August 2007). "Obit.: Mr Justice Dermot Kinlen". The Times. London. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
  6. Mission and Values - Irish Prison Service - Irish Prison Service. (2018). Retrieved April 13, 2018, from
  7. Drug Treatment Services - Irish Prison Service - Irish Prison Service. (2018). Retrieved April 13, 2018, from
  8. Prison Education Services - Irish Prison Service - Irish Prison Service. (2018). Retrieved April 13, 2018, from
  9. Work and Vocational Training - Irish Prison Service - Irish Prison Service. (2018). Retrieved April 13, 2018, from
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