598. Deputy Pa Daly asked the Minister for Justice the dates from when she was in receipt of each of the various prison visiting committee annual reports 2019; and when each was published on the website of her Department. [5925/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): As the Deputy may appreciate, the work of the prison visiting committees has been heavily impacted due to the COVID 19 pandemic including insofar as the timing of the submission of the 2019 Annual reports to my Department is concerned.
The reports of the various Prison Visiting Committees were submitted over the course of 2020. The first was received in March and the last was received in October. The date of receipt for each report is set out below. The practice is to bring all of the Visiting Committee reports to Government in a single memorandum for information, which was done after receipt of the final report. Following that, all reports were then laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas and were subsequently published on the website of my Department, on Friday 15th of January 2021.
Officials in my Department will be engaging proactively with the 12 Visiting Committees in 2021 to ensure a more streamlined and timely finalisation of the reports for the reporting next cycle.
In addition, I can also confirm that a cross-functional Departmental review is underway on foot of the Programme for Government commitment to 'Review the existing functions, powers, appointment procedures and reporting processes for prison-visiting committees’' and I expect that the recommendations from that group will be available in Quarter 1 this year.
|Arbour Hill||11 March|
|Cork Prison||1 May|
|Loughan House||13 October|
|Shelton Abbey||16 April|