Breach of Discipline
Breach of the matters set out, are disciplinary breaches. Where a prisoner is alleged to have committed a breach of discipline, the Governor may hold an inquiry into the breach. If he does not do so, he should record the reason. Disciplinary action may be taken by the Governor following an enquiry.
Where the Governor decides to hold an inquiry into the alleged breach of discipline, he shall inform the prisoner of the nature of the alleged breach. The inquiry is to commence immediately unless there are grounds for postponing commencement. The inquiry is conducted by the Governor and the prisoner is entitled to attend during the conduct of the inquiry.
The following are breaches of prison discipline:
- disobeys or fails to comply with a lawful order of the Governor or prison officer;
- contravenes or fails to comply with prison rules;
- treats with disrespect through the use of any abusive, insolent, racist, or threatening behaviour or language, the Governor, any person officer, any prisoner, visitor to the prison or other person;
- without lawful authority prepares, manufactures, consumes, or administers, consents to administrations or possesses any intoxicating liquor, substances, drug or medicinal product;
- is intoxicated in consequence of consuming knowingly, intoxicating liquor, a controlled drug or medicine or product;
- pierces himself or another with a needle or consents to being pierced;
- intentionally or recklessly endangers the health, personal and safety of the any person;
- assaults any person;
- engages in any bullying or harassment;
- intentionally obstructs a prison officer in the execution of his duty;
- attempts by use of any inducement or threat to influence any prison officer, prisoner or other person in the performance of his duty;
- gives false evidence or fails to cooperate with an inquiry;
- make false allegations against a Governor, prison officer or prisoner of any visitor;
- fails to cooperate or comply with a direction of a prison officer, relating to search;
- absents himself, from any place where he is required to be;
- intentionally or recklessly sets fire to any part of the prison or property whether or not they belong to him;
- damages, disfigures any part of the prison, prison property or the property of any other person;
- fails to comply with the requirement to work or intentionally fails to work properly or engage in an structured activity;
- is in possession of any prohibited article;
- has in his possession any article, in a place in which it is not permitted to be,
- sells or receives any prohibited article or supplies the same;
- has in his possession, a greater quantity of an article than he is authorised to have;
- refuses to undergo an examination or provide a specimen when required;
- takes any articles belonging to another without his consent;
- detains any person against his will;
- mutinies or commits any act of collective indiscipline;
- escapes, absconds, or aids and abets another to do so;
- attempts to commit, incite another person to commit or assist another person to commit any of the above breaches,
- is indecent in language, act or gesture;
- displays, attaches or draws on any part of the prison or other property, threatening, abusive or insulting, racist, drawing symbols or materials;
- in any other way offends against good order and discipline.
The governor of a prison may hold inquiries in relation to alleged breaches of prison discipline by prisoners. Sanctions may be imposed in finding of breach. A prisoner may petition the Minister against the finding and/or sanction. Where the sanction involves a forfeiture of remission of sentence, there is an appeal to an independent Appeal Tribunal.
Where there is an inquiry into an alleged breach of discipline, the prisoner is to be informed of the alleged breach and time date and details, where there is a finding on foot of the inquiry.
If a breach is found, the finding is recorded, and sanctions are imposed. If it is not found, the same is recorded. Prison rules may specify the procedure in respect of inquiry.
Insofar as reasonably practicable, a prisoner to whom the allegation relates, shall not be escorted to or from an inquiry, by a prison officer who made the allegation. He shall be entitled to sit and stand as he wishes. He shall be entitled to be told, what is alleged against him at the hearing and to hear or be given the opportunity to examine and have explained to him any evidence given or submitted in support of the allegation that he breached prison discipline.
The prisoner shall be entitled to reply to the allegation that he committed a breach of discipline. He shall be entitled with the consent of the Governor to call a witness to give evidence. He shall give notice, prior to the commencement of the inquiry of a witness, he wishes to call.
Consent to a witness attending shall not be withheld by the Governor, other than on reasonable grounds, where he is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the evidence that the witness would propose to give would be of no assistance to the inquiry.
The prisoner may put questions to any witness. The inquiry may be adjourned where required in the interests of justice. A prisoner shall be entitled to make a plea in mitigation to the Governor before any penalty is imposed. The Governor shall, where necessary and insofar as practicable, arrange for the service of an interpreter to a prisoner, where necessary.
The Governor shall inform the prisoner, if he decides to impose a penalty, suspend the operation of a penalty, or withdraw remission. The Governor shall not include a prohibition on receiving visits as a penalty, without specifying why this has been so decided. A decision to impose loss of privileges is not to include a prohibition on receiving visits unless it is specifically so certified.
Possible sanctions that may be imposed include
- caution, reprimand, confinement to a cell for a period of up to three days,
- prohibition on engaging in specified structured and recreational activity for periods up to sixty days,
- prohibitions on receiving visits or sending or receiving letters, using money or faculties, possessing articles permitted as a privilege, forfeiture of money from public funds, forfeiture of not more than 14 days remission
- postponement for a period of up to 60 days of an amount of gratuity which the prisoner will be entitled to under prison rules.
- In the case of an escape attempted escape from lawful custody, a requirement to wear prison clothes for a period of up to 60 days may be imposed.
Subject to minimum requirements and exercise, a prisoner shall not be authorised to engage in structured activity, particular structured activities, permitted communal recreation, associate with other prisoners, where the Governor directs.
The Governor may so direct, if information has been supplied as to that the prisoner’s behaviour which is such as to cause the Governor to believe on reasonable grounds, that to permit the person to so engage or participate would result in a significant threat to the maintenance of good order and safe and secure custody. The period of direction is to be no longer than necessary for good order, safety, and secure custody. It is to be reviewed every seven days.
The prisoner, the subject of a direction is to be give notice of the reasons and to be informed of the outcome of the review and if records are to be kept, including the representations of the prisoner and decisions made. The prison doctor, chaplain and Director General are to be informed. The latter is to be given copies of the report with the details of the prisoner’s view of the matter.
The governor may suspend the operation of a sanction or subject it to conditions for a period of up to three months from the conclusion of the enquiry. Where conditions of suspension are complied with, the governor may direct the sanction shall take effect or that it be abated in a specified manner. Where the conditions of suspension are not complied with, the sanction may take effect on such conditions as is specified.
A governor may, on the basis of a prisoner’s good behaviour or performance of a meritorious act, restore all or part of a remission or portion of a sentence. Nothing relating to the procedure prevents a governor from taking immediate measures to maintain order and discipline or prison security.
When a sanction is being imposed, the governor must explain to the prisoner so that he understands the right to transmit to the Minister a petition regarding the funding, finding or sanction. If it consists of a forfeiture or remission of part of a sentence, the governor must explain the contents of the below provision, which allows the prisoner to appeal a sanction or a finding leading to the sanction.
A petition to the Minister may be in relation to the finding or sanction. The Minister, following consultations with the governor, may affirm, modify, suspend or revoke the sanction. The prisoner is to be notified.
A prisoner on whom a sanction forfeiture or remission has been imposed may notify the governor of his intention to appeal to the Appeal Tribunal. The governor is to refer the matter to the Tribunal which may invite written submissions from the prisoner and governor. The time is set for the hearing. The prisoner may attend and may avail of legal advice or representation for the purpose of the hearing.
The Appeal Tribunal may uphold, quash the finding of breach or affirm, vary or quash the sanction or period of sanction etc. Regulations may be made for legal aid to prisoners who appeal to the Appeal Tribunal. The decision is notified in writing to the governor and the prisoner and is to be published in accordance with prison rules.
The Appeals Tribunal is to be independent and adjudicate an appeal from a sanction forfeiture or remission of part of a sentence. The Tribunal is to be a practising barrister or solicitor of seven year’s stand. The Appeal Tribunal may determine its own procedures subject to general directions given by the Minister in the interest of securing consistency.
The Governor shall ensure that the decisions made by the Appeal Tribunal are notified in writing to the prisoner.
Steps may be taken to isolate vulnerable prisoners either on their own application, request or where the Governor considers it necessary. Such prisoners may participate with others in authorised structured activities if this is considered reasonably likely to be beneficial. Records are to be kept of directions.
Prisoners may be retained in special observation cells for periods up to 24 hours, where it is necessary to prevent the prisoner causing imminent injury to himself or others and where all less restrictive methods of control are inadequate in the circumstances. The person concerned shall be examined by the prison doctor as soon as practicable, whose direction shall be complied with regarding health.
A prisoner in a special observation cell is to be of observed at least every 15 minutes. Period is not to exceed 24 hours but may be extended but not more than four further periods, none of which shall exceed 24 hours. The Governor may extend the period further. It must submit a report to the Director General, explaining the need for extension.
The Governor is to visit prisoners accommodated in special observation cells, not less than once every day, while so accommodated. The doctor is to visit not less than once every day. Full particulars of the arrangement are to be recorded.
A prisoner may be placed in restraints in a manner approved by the Minister where the Governor so directs and be kept for periods up to 24 hours. A direction to do so may not be given unless it is a necessity to prevent the prisoner from injuring himself or causing significant damage to property and the accommodation concerned without restraint in the cell would be inadequate. Particulars of the direction are to be given to the Director General, prison doctor, visiting committee and chaplain of a religious denomination to which the prisoner belongs.
A prisoner who is restrained shall be visited by a member of the healthcare staff immediately. He shall be released if the prison doctor so advises. He should be observed every 15 minutes. The period specified shall not exceed 24 hours, which may be extended after consultation with a doctor, in exceptional circumstances for one further period. A report must be submitted to the Director General in relation to extensions.
The Governor is to visit such prisoners at least daily. Full details of the matters are to be recorded.