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Prison Officer Graduation Ceremony At Dublin Castle.

The Minister for Justice, Mr Mr Simon Harris, has welcomed the graduation of 131 Recruit Prison Officers at the Print Works, Dublin Castle today. Of the 131 graduating, 23 are women and 108 are men, with 6 of these new recruits recorded as being born outside of the Irish State.

Under Budget 2023, a €6.5m additional staffing package was secured for the recruitment of circa 100 additional staff. Accordingly, the Prison Service has indicated that, overall, it intends on recruiting up to 260 staff in 2023 including Recruit Prison Officers, Work Training Officers, Trades Officers and Nurses.

The new officers have now completed their Higher Certificate of Arts in Custodial care (HCCC) and have already been assigned to prisons throughout the country.

New officers have also been assigned to the Operational Support Group, which prevents contraband entering prisons, detects prohibited articles in prisons and prevent the direction of crime from prisons, and the Prison Service Escort Corp, who escort people in the custody of the Irish Prison Service to and from court appearances and other necessary engagement in the community.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony yesterday evening, Minister Harris said: “I am delighted to be here this evening to welcome and congratulate the new graduates and their families.
This graduation ceremony is a fitting celebration and acknowledgement of the education and hard work undertaken by each of you to date, and your commitment to your careers in the Irish Prison Service.
Being a prison officer means providing safe and secure custody, dignity and care for those in the custody of the State and fundamentally contributing to the rehabilitation within our prisons.
Prison officers wear many hats – you have to be good listeners, coaches, authority figures, but above all else it means bringing humanity to your work each and every day.
As Minister for Justice, I am acutely aware of the vital role you play in the criminal justice system. Victims need to know that where serious crimes are committed, an appropriate sentence will be served. The Government will always appreciate the job you do.
I would like to thank all of you for making this commitment to serving the State. Your work will ultimately change lives for the better and contribute to building safer and stronger communities.”

The Prison Service has also made significant progress in the delivery of training to existing staff. Not only is the training designed and delivered by experienced operational staff, but a significant amount of training is delivered in the “live” environment of a prison.

This training is accredited by south east technological university (SETU) as the Higher Certificate of Arts in Custodial Care and reflects Level 6 of the NQAI framework.

The Higher Certificate in Custodial Care is a two year part-time programme, developed and delivered jointly by the Irish Prison Service and South East Technological University (SETU), which is designed to develop the professional competencies of Prison Service staff in working with people in prison. The Higher Certificate of Arts in Custodial Care is intended to facilitate a greater understanding of how officers can confront challenges through the exploration of different subjects including, Resilience, Mental Health, Social Psychology and Human Rights.

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