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Mountjoy Prison Visiting Committee. (2012) Mountjoy prison annual report 2011. Dublin: Department of Justice and Equality.

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Mental Health (p.18)
Social isolation for a continuous period can create its own problems. The practice of isolating mentally disturbed prisoners by dispatching them to special-cell accommodation is not conducive to their long-term recovery. The Visiting Committee is aware that prisoners are still being held in special cells, in some cases for weeks. Notwithstanding the success of the High Support Unit, it does not meet the mental health needs of prisoners not undergoing its structured programmes. The Visiting Committee still see the need for the establishment a Vulnerable Persons Unit, which will allow for suitable in-house treatment of prisoners suffering from mental illness, in circumstances where they are not considered suitable for transfer to a mental hospital. As outlined in the Prison Rules (2007) prisoners should be accommodated in special cells only if necessary to prevent harm; and for a period no longer than 24 hours.

Due to a shortage of beds there is too often a long delay in moving prisoners to deal with prisoners to mental hospitals. An increase in the availability of bed capacity for prisoners undergoing psychiatric care should be pursued, with a view to taking them out of a prison environment while under going treatment. This is a problem that has been highlighted again and again.

Drugs
The management approach in dealing with the illegal exchange of drugs in the prison is in line with the IPS Drugs Policy & Strategy. During the year prison management continued its progress in dealing with internal drug problems, with the installation of preventive nets over yards playing a major part.

A wide-range of general and specialist services provided by the IPS, relevant statutory and non-statutory bodies ensure that drug rehabilitation programmes for prisoners include a significant multi-dimensional input. These measures seek to reduce the demand for drugs through an extensive set of initiatives, administered within the prison by management. These services are being provided on the basis of clinical needs and supported by a system of mandatory drug testing. In recent years, considerable investment by the Department of Justice & Equality confirms its commitment in managing addiction issues in the prison system, however, continued enlargement and improvement is required. We are particularly concerned at the increased level of tablet availability, and the difficulty in detecting these.

Also the problem of interaction between drug users and non drug users must be addressed in 2012. The incidences of prisoners becoming addicted in Mountjoy must be dealt with in a decisive manner. A drug free environment has got to be seriously worked on. The Visiting Committee is of the view that increased measures must be put in place to eliminate the passing of tablets etc. which cannot be detected by dogs.

The introduction of nets over the yards has strengthened the controls on drug supplies, but desperation leads to some amazing inventions, as has been witnessed in Mountjoy over the years. So there is no room for complacency or relaxation in pursuing new ways of dealing with the issue of supply.

A programme of dealing with addiction should be set up, so as to allow for far greater availability of treatment for drug users encouraged or wishing to come off drugs.

It is astounding that prisoners locked up for 23 hours per day can still avail of a constant supply of drugs/tablets.


Date:April 2012
Pages:11p. :
Publisher:Department of Justice and Equality
Corporate Creators:Mountjoy Prison Visiting Committee
Place of Publication:Dublin
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Electronic Only)
Subjects:J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Health care programme or facility > Prison-based health service
MM-MO Crime and law > Justice system > Correctional system and facility > Prison
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland > Dublin
T Demographic characteristics > Prison Inmate (prisoner)

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