Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 87 - Drugs in prison [9085/08].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 87 - Drugs in prison [9085/08]. (04 Mar 2008)

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87.  Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the changes he proposes to make to policy and procedure in view of recent reports in respect of the widespread availability of illegal drugs in prisons. [9085/08]

Deputy Brian Lenihan: Presumably, the Deputy is referring to recent reports regarding the number of prisoners testing positive for drugs in our prisons. In regard to the figures published, some of them relate to the use of drugs immediately prior to committal. The length of time prisoners were in custody before being tested was not recorded, so a precise breakdown of such cases cannot be given. It should also be noted that the power to take random mandatory drug tests of prisoners only came into existence in October 2007 when the new prison rules came into operation. Prior to that date, drug testing had been primarily targeted at prisoners with a known history of drug misuse. The figures should not be seen as an indicator of drug misuse across the wider prisoner population. Nevertheless, the level of positive tests among prisoners is a cause for serious concern.

The policy and strategy of the Irish Prison Service to keep drugs out of prisons aims to eliminate the availability of illicit drugs within prisons with tighter control and monitoring of prisoner visits and committals in all closed prisons; greater use of screened visits; increased random searching of cells and their occupants; use of modern cameras and probe systems which assist in searching previously difficult areas such as hollow chair or bed legs, under floor boards and other cavities; use of phone detectors and phased installation of telephone blocking technology. Vol. 649 No. 1 Priority Questions Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Item Type
Dail Debates
Publication Type
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Intervention Type
Crime prevention
4 March 2008

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