86. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the details of the review and management of the complaints services in prisons; if her Department completes audits of these systems; if she has improvements planned for same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15847/17]


Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I am informed by the director general of the Irish Prison Service, IPS, that the prisoner complaints system is administered by the operations directorate in the Irish Prison Service Headquarters and is governed by the provisions of S.I. 11 of 2013 and Rule 57 of the Prison Rules 2007.
The prisoner complaints system provides multiple categories of complaint (A-F), the most serious being categorised as 'A'. Each category is determined by the prison governor. Category A complaints are independently investigated. Other less serious complaints are investigated internally or referred to a relevant professional body.
A review, evaluation and analysis of the operation of the prisoner complaints system was held in April 2016 by the late inspector of prisons. The Irish Prison Service is currently implementing the recommendations made following the review and are currently engaged in discussions with the Ombudsman who will be given a role in the complaints process.
The new Irish Prison Service prisoner complaints system will have complaint and appeal mechanisms for both serious and less serious complaints and will provide for an independent element in the investigation of complaints.
A new IT system is in development by the Irish Prison Service which will facilitate audit reports. Question No. 87 answered with Question No. 77.