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Deaths of prisoners while in the custody of the Irish prison

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posted on 2016-10-12, 10:33 authored by SHANE KILCOMMINSSHANE KILCOMMINS, EIMEAR SPAINEIMEAR SPAIN
Foreword The absence of reliable, comprehensive information on deaths in custody within this jurisdiction has long stuck me as lamentable. This project emerged from a conversa-tion between Prof. Shane Kilcommins and me in 2014 in which we discussed my de-sire to rectify the information deficit in this regard. Unfortunately, given the limited re-sources available to my office, this was not work which I could undertake myself. With characteristic enthusiasm, Prof. Kilcommins suggested that the School of Law in the University of Limerick would be in a position to provide academic support to such a project. Supported by two academic members of staff, Prof. Shane Kilcommins and Dr. Eimear Spain, ten fourth year law students were invited to participate. On meeting the students, Roisin Cahill, Blathnaid Christian O Shea, Maire Ciepierski , Caoilinn Doran, Cillian Flavin, Niall Foley, Michelle Kavanagh, Luke Mulcahy, Rachel O'Carroll and Stephen Strauss Walsh, I was immediately struck by their interest, willingness to par-ticipate and their broad knowledge. The students worked diligently and with great en-thusiasm and contributed in two important ways: conducting an extensive literature review on deaths in custody and designing a database based on international best practice. This database will be an important resource for my office and the state in the years to come, informing stakeholders and it is hoped, public policy. As a proud adjunct Professor in the School of Law, I was also delighted to note the very real benefits which accrued to the students who worked on this project. Participa-tion gave them an opportunity to synthesise existing knowledge and apply the analyti-cal and research skills developed during their time in UL in a real world scenario. I hope that this experience is one which the students will long remember, cementing their love of and respect for the law and public service. This research, which will be presented to the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, is a concrete example of cooperation between the aca-demic world and a practical Inspectorate such as mine. I am confident that this work which can be expanded in the future will prove a rich source of information in both the academic and practical spheres.

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School of Law, University of Limerick/ Office of the Inspector of Prisons

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non-peer-reviewed

Language

English

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