Home > Ireland: national report for 2021 - prison.

Health Research Board. Irish National Focal Point to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. (2022) Ireland: national report for 2021 - prison. Dublin: Health Research Board.

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There are 12 institutions in the Irish prison system, comprising 10 traditional ‘closed’ institutions and two open centres, which operate with minimal internal and perimeter security. The majority of female prisoners are accommodated in the purpose-built Dóchas Centre adjacent to Mountjoy Prison in Dublin, and the remainder are located in a separate part of Limerick Prison. In 2017, the overall daily average number of prisoners in custody was 3,680, as compared with 3,718 in 2016. The average number of female offenders in custody was 144, a 2.9% increase on the 2016 average of 140. In 2017 there were 9,287 committals, as against 15,099 in 2016.

Political responsibility for the prison system in Ireland is vested in the Minister for Justice and Equality. The Irish Prison Service (IPS) operates as an executive agency within the Department of Justice and Equality. It is headed by a Director General, supported by five directors. The provision of prison healthcare is based on a set of policy documents drawn up by various stakeholders.

As in previous years, the main problem drugs reported by all treatment entrants in Irish prisons were opiates and cocaine. Although a comprehensive examination of drugs used in Irish prisons is currently unavailable, there appears to be a decrease in the use of traditional drugs such as, heroin, other opiates, etc., and an increasing use of newer drugs of abuse, including novel psychoactive substances.

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