Originally Posted by Zambia
Not many European countries use their army to police prisons.
In reality it should be phased out and the armed ability given to another non military body.
Privatisation (including armed )as nasty as it sounds should not be discounted.
Looking at the costs for one.
Soldier will get his basic pay + Portlaoise money which costs for arguments sake 50 euro extra a week per soldier. We'll presume there are 30 on PL Detail at all times (in rotating shifts) throughout the year. That's 1500 a week and 78000 a year.
Now, hire a private security firm to do it. The contract goes for tender, and to have 10 men on at all times, rotating the shifts, so having 40+ staff just for PL (relief staff included), you'll be paying each staff member €32000 a year given they are armed security in a prison. That's around 1.3 million euro, and that's just the staff on the walls, multiply it by 1.5 to get how much the company would be paid, and then add VAT on top of that. You're talking 3 million + euro a year when everything is called into play. And lets be fair, it would be granted to some TD's Buddy.
The Security aspect.
The soldiers detailed to PL are there for a few weeks at a time and then rotated out, so there is no time for anyone to find out who they are, and blackmail them to do something they shouldn't.
You have a private security firm, they're gonna have the same old boys, getting the same old wages, all of whom would live within 30 miles of Portlaoise and who could with time be identified and easily targeted for blackmail to either take stuff in or look the other way. And besides that, who decides who is hired and put on the wall? You would have a list of wannabe rambo's as long as your arm applying for the job, the Garda, Army and Jailer rejects would show up in droves and a lot of them would end up getting hired.
And having jailers do it would have more issues than a Private Security firm. Procuring weapons, picking staff, putting them through psychometric tests, weeding out the weirdo's, training them in weapons handling. And then they have the same security issues to deal with, as they currently do, but now they have weapons. And you'd have to pay the PO's extra allowances, probably far more than the army, just because it's not part of what they signed up for.
The system currently in place is pretty damn cheap and probably the safest with the constant rotation. Though, maybe one thing to do which I don't know is currently done, is to ensure that the brother of any soldier on the wall is not in the prison.
Disclaimer: I am neither a soldier nor a jailer, just looking at this from a logical point of view