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March 5, 2010

CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
(617) 961-6682


Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral (Center) met with Irish Prison Service Members (L to R) Eileen Horgan Murphy, Kathy Hoctor, and Ethel Gavin during their visit to the Suffolk County House of Correction.

Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral recently hosted three members of the Irish Prison Service (IPS) at the House of Correction (HOC) for a tour of the facility and a meeting with the Department’s Financial Services Division.

This marks the second visit of the IPS to the Department since their first meeting with Sheriff Cabral in 2008, when the Irish Prison Service Pipe Band (IPSPB) traveled to Boston and the House of Correction for a tour the facility. Fulfilling the additional purpose of their visit that year, the IPSPB marched alongside Sheriff Cabral and members of the Department in the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston.

Dating back to its inception in 1854, the Irish Prison Service remains one of the oldest public institutions in Ireland. As stated in the organization’s literature, the IPS works with a three–man board – the Convict Prisons Board – to “manage convict prisons in Ireland. The mission of the Irish Prison Service is to provide safe, secure and humane custody for people who are sent to prison.”

Irish Prison Service members Kathy Hoctor, Clerk, Financial Control; Eileen Horgan Murphy, Clerk, Cork Prison; and Ethel Gavin, Deputy Governor, Castlerea Prison sat with Sheriff Cabral to compare and contrast some of the similarities and differences between the county prison system and the Irish Prison System, and to talk about a number of other related topics.

Among the subjects discussed were program services, length of sentencing, recidivism, population size, severity of offenses, and the Department’s Classification system. Classification is the process through which inmates and detainees are given complete assessments to screen for such items as health and level of security risk in order to determine the proper course of programming and housing assignment that each inmate and detainee will receive. Thus far, the Irish Prison System has not yet instituted any formal method of classification.

Before embarking upon their tour, led by Superintendent and Special Sheriff Gerard Horgan and Deputy Superintendent Gerry Walsh, members of the ISP and Sheriff Cabral exchanged contact information, program materials and small tokens bearing the insignias of their respective organizations.

At the conclusion of their time at the House of Correction, each member of the Irish Prison Service expressed gratitude for the hospitality that they received and remarked about the impressions formed on them by their visit.

“The tour of the facility was most informative,” said Kathy Hoctor. “It was interesting to see that although we may have different solutions, the problems encountered by our Justice Departments are very much the same. I was impressed with the systems used for Inmate Property and the high standard of Educational and Health Care Facilities.”

“The quietness in the female area of the prison suggested a well run, calm environment,” Ethel Gavin added. “The general calm, pleasant atmosphere in this institution is admirable given the numbers the sheriff and management must deal with.”

Summarizing the group’s overall experience, Eileen Horgan said: “We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the Suffolk County House of Correction. We were all very impressed with the policies in force there and we were also very impressed with the time and courtesy that were afforded to us. Everyone was very kind and welcoming and you gave of so much of your time.”

To learn more about the Irish Prison Service, visit:

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