Published Wednesday, 02 July 2014
The majority of complaints were made by prisoners at Maghaberry. (© UTV)
The findings were published in the Prisoner Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, Tom McGonigle's annual report for 2013-2014.
The role of the Prisoner Ombudsman is to investigate and report on prisoners' complaints and deaths in custody.
During the year, the Ombudsman commenced investigations into 450 new complaints, four deaths in custody and three post-release deaths.
The majority of complaints - 80%- came from Maghaberry Prison.
Investigations were made into issues ranging from minor matters to multiple thematic complaints.
Property and cash, visits, staff attitudes and accommodation accounted for most - 40% - of the complaints that reached the Ombudsman.
A total of 204 individual prisoners made the 450 eligible complaints.
Mr McGonigle said 46% of prisoners' complaints were upheld.
"We made 323 recommendations for improvement, and 90% of these were accepted by the Northern Ireland Prison Service," he said.
"Throughout the year we heard of several situations where prisoners almost died in each prison, but were saved by prompt and effective staff intervention. We made 99 recommendations for improvement in relation to the care of prisoners."
He added: "We continued to support the prison reform process, working with the Prison Service, South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust and Department of Justice (DOJ) to identify and implement changes that can improve prisoners' quality of life, and thereby help reduce tensions in the prisons."
The Prisoner Ombudsman concluded by commenting on the significance of plans to place his office on a statutory footing which is expected to be achieved by 2015.
© UTV News