Pictured from L-R, Dr Suzanne Denieffe (Dean of Humanity,SETU), Dr Derek O’Byrne, Vice President for Academic Affairs,SETU) Ms Caron McCaffrey (Director General, IPS), Mr Simon Harris TD (Minister for Justice), Prof Veronica Campbell (President, SETU), Mr James Browne TD (Minister of State), Governor John Flavin (IPS College), Ms Oonagh McPhilips (Secretary General, Dept. of Justice)
Last night, Minister for Justice and Equality, Mr Simon Harris TD spoke in Dublin Castle at the graduation of 131 Recruit Prison Officers across 8 training groups. (18% females and 82% male) This was the first in person Prison Service graduation ceremony to be held since 2019. The Higher Certificate in Arts in Custodial Care (HCCC) is a two year level 6 QQI programme which is delivered through a collaboration between the Irish Prison Service and South East Technological University (SETU). A work-based programme that aims to develop the reflective, theoretical and practical skills of the Recruit Prison Officer to support them to achieve high standards in their delivery of safe, ethical and secure custodial care. The President of SETU Veronica Campbell paid tribute to “the hard work of the HCCC teaching and management team comprising Professional Prison Officer colleagues in Midlands Prison who work with each new group of recruits, and the academic, management, administrative and support staff from the Irish Prison Service and from SETU. The experience and expertise of the team is diverse and impressive. You have all contributed to the growth and success of this programme” Speaking at the graduation Minister Harris said; “I am delighted to be here this evening to welcome and congratulate the new graduates and their families. “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. “And 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 Director General Caron McCaffrey also addressed the graduates “This generation of Prison Officers, going forward, are the standard-bearers of prison reform and indeed of a more compassionate societal approach to crime and punishment. We have learned as a society that incarceration without rehabilitation is a futile exercise. But thanks to programmes such as the HCCC, our prison officers have become a channel of Hope, not despair, as we recognise that with compassion and rehabilitation, society, as a whole, will benefit.” ….. 2 The graduates are now working as fulltime professional Prison Officers in 8 of our Prisons throughout the estate including our Operational Support Group & Prison Service Escort Corp.