The Irish Person Service has announced a review of its security procedures after allegations that a lawyer was told she had to remove her bra before entering prison.
This will include a review of “policies, procedures and staff training” to ensure that people are treated “in an appropriate, fair and impartial manner, while remaining at all times courteous and sensitive”.
The statement added that it was not prison policy to require visits to remove underwear, according to The Irish Times.
The legal profession’s governing body said it had raised concerns about prison security protocols that affect female lawyers.
On Monday, the Irish Examiner reported that a lawyer had been ordered by prison officers to remove her bra if she wanted to access her client because it triggered a security sensor.
In an official complaint to the Irish Prison Service (IPS), the lawyer said she was “subjected to a degrading incident” at Cloverhill Prison in Dublin on June 11, 2020.
“Not only did I feel extremely vulnerable and targeted as a woman, but I felt humiliated that my dignity had been taken away so casually,” she said in the complaint reported by the Irish Examiner.
The visit was about urgent bail proceedings, so she had “no choice but to comply with their condition upon my entry.”
In a statement released on Tuesday, the IPS said revised security screening protocols were introduced for visitors at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This meant that the pat-down searches could not be carried out between March 15 and June 30, 2020 due to the risks of Covid.
“Those who activated the metal detector during this time were given the opportunity to reschedule their visit. At all times during this unprecedented health crisis, the health and safety of our prisoners, staff and visitors has been of the utmost importance. “
The previous screening protocol was resumed on June 20, 2020.
“The purpose of the security check at the point of entry is to deter and prevent contraband entry into prisons. “
Hand-held and hand-held metal detectors, narcotics swabs, x-rays of outerwear, and drug sniffer dogs are all part of the security check.
Visitors have three chances to pass through the metal detector before using a hand-held device.
Palpations are only used when staff are still unable to find the item that triggers the alarm.
He said that it was not IPS’s policy to “require everyone to remove their underwear in order to be admitted to a prison” and that he did not condone behavior that “could endanger the rights of people to be treated with dignity and respect “. .
He said allegations of inappropriate behavior by staff are taken very seriously. Any visitor can make a written complaint.