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Response to Prison Board of Visitors report

26 November 2015

The Minister for Home Affairs, Deputy Kristina Moore, has welcomed the findings of a report by the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel into the Prison Board of Visitors.

Deputy Moore said “My department is committed to modernising the Prison Board of Visitors and we agree with the Panel on the importance of having fully independent prison visitors.

“Jurats, both past and present, have provided many years of valuable service as prison visitors and I’d like to thank them for their committed and dedicated public service. However, when viewed from a modern perspective, it is clear that the judicial role of the Jurat does not meet international standards for fully independent prison visitors. Jersey needs to meet the international standard for monitoring prisoners and be able to demonstrate independently that people in detention are treated fairly and humanely.

“As a result, I will sign a Ministerial Decision instructing my officers to take forward the changes necessary to ensure that Jersey complies with the requirements of the United Nations OPCAT treaty and the establishment of an independent Prison Board of Visitors. I expect that an amendment to the law will be lodged in 2016 for the Assembly to consider.

”I am grateful for the ongoing support of Jurats in managing a professional transition to the new arrangements. I’d also like to thank the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel for conducting this review and recommending that Jersey brings its system of prison visiting into step with the systems in place in the rest of the British Isles.”

The Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, will also sign a Ministerial Decision instructing officers to make arrangements for the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment (OPCAT) to be extended to Jersey once all legislative and administrative actions have been taken to ensure Jersey’s compliance.

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