118. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of complaints received by the Irish Prison Service in respect of prisoner escort services in 2018 and to date in 2019; the predominant issues raised in these complaints; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24799/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I can advise the Deputy that the Prison Service Escort Corp was established in 2005 on an independent basis within the Irish Prison Service to provide a prisoner escorting service. Prison Service Escort Corp is a dedicated corps of staff whose task is to escort prisoners to and from court.
All prisoners have the right to make a complaint at any time and all complaints are treated with the utmost seriousness. Complaints can vary in nature. Some may relate to, for example, conditions of accommodation, quality of food or access to services. Other complaints can be more serious such as allegations of assault, mistreatment or intimidation. All complaints are dealt with in accordance with Rule 57 A & B of the Prison Rules 2013.
I am advised by my officials in the Irish Prison Service that 4 complaints were received in 2018 and 1 complaint received to date in 2019.
Of the five complaints received two related to alleged assaults on a prisoner, one related to the type of food received, one related to unfair treatment, and one related to duration prisoner was left in cellular van.