RJS4C Ireland collaborate with Irish Prison Service on workshop for HQ staff
On the afternoon of 13th October 2020, Dr. Ian Marder (Core Member, RJS4C Ireland) collaborated with ACO Angelena Murphy from the Irish Prison Service (IPS) College to organise and deliver a webinar to IPS HQ staff. The webinar, lasting for 90 minutes and attended by over 60 persons, introduced civil servants working at IPS HQ to restorative practices and principles, illustrating how these can be applied in prisons and across prison services more broadly to the benefit of staff, management and people in custody.
The group discussed the relevant international and Irish policy frameworks, including the 2018 Council of Europe Recommendation concerning restorative justice in criminal matters, the Irish Framework for the Inspection of Prisons which provides for ‘Prison staff, when appropriate, [to] use conflict prevention, mediation, restorative justice principles or other interventions to prevent and resolve conflicts’, and the IPS’s own 2019-22 Strategic Plan, in which the IPS commits to ‘Exploring and examining mechanisms for incorporating restorative justice principles throughout the Irish Prison Service’.
The speakers also informed the group about the work they had done so far in relation to the IPS’s above strategic commitment, and facilitated a group discussion among those present regarding their thoughts as to the relevance of restorative practices to IPS HQ and across the prison service generally.
RJS4C Ireland continues to work with the IPS in relation to Pillar 3 of its national strategy, which states that ‘All persons working in or in collaboration with the criminal justice system should be trained in restorative practices so that they are confident in using these skills, principles and processes in their day-to-day work. This will help support the development of more responsive, relational, participatory, procedurally-just and reflective organisational cultures.’
The IPS is also a key partner in the Action Plan for the Joint Management of Offenders 2019-2021, in which the IPS is listed as jointly responsible for ‘Develop[ing] joint arrangements – including in the area of victim/offender mediation – for providing victims of crime with opportunities for positive, restorative responses to the harm they have suffered