Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 167 & 168 - Prisoner rehabilitation programmes [21090/16, 21091/16].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 167 & 168 - Prisoner rehabilitation programmes [21090/16, 21091/16]. (12 Jul 2016)

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167. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality why the services of the training and employment officers of the Irish Association for the Social Integration of Offenders, IASIO, are only available to persons who are stable on methadone or free of drug and alcohol abuse problems; if this rule helps to place persons with drug or alcohol problems in a cycle of addiction and crime by preventing them from accessing services; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21090/16]

 

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that the service works in collaboration with a range of key statutory and community services to facilitate the effective and safe transition of prisoners from custody to community.

 

The Irish Prison Service works with the Irish Association for the Social Integration of Offenders (IASIO) to provide two prison based operational services, the 'Gate' Service and the 'Resettlement' Service, while the Probation Service works with the IASIO to provide the community-based 'Linkage' Service. The Training and Employment Officer (TEO) role is common to both the Linkage and Gate Services.

 

The TEO and the referred client work together to identify an improved pathway in life away from a life of offending. This includes working to identify and remove any barriers that stand in the way of positive change, and setting out the necessary steps to achieving a new way of life. In practical terms, this means guiding people into employment or training and educational programmes that help the person realise their ultimate goals.  

 

I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that access to the IASIO’s Linkage and Gate services does not depend on methadone stability or the absence of drug and alcohol abuse issues, rather it depends on the person’s overall ability and motivation to engage with the change process. It is common for Linkage and Gate Service clients to have some form of substance misuse issue but still be capable of working with the TEO to identify an alternative life-course and engage with other support services to achieve this aim. The IASIO report that even for some individuals in active and consistent addiction, criminal justice interventions such as imprisonment can provide periods of stability that allow the TEO and other services to provide a meaningful intervention for that person. In some cases, the TEO led guidance process results in the decision not to place someone in training, education or employment because they currently lack the necessary stability to engage effectively.

 

The IASIO TEOs endeavour to help every person referred to their service to achieve as much as their capacity to engage at that point in their life allows. The IASIO TEOs are part of a wider multi-disciplinary team, including an addiction counselling service and others, that work to encourage prisoners to move away from offending behaviour and achieve the type of personal change that benefits both the person and the wider community.

 

Prison drug treatment services [21091/16]

168. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality why a person (details supplied) has been waiting for eight months on remand in a prison (details supplied) to find out if he is entitled to drug treatment. [21091/16]

 

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I have been advised by the Irish Prison Service (IPS) that the objective of healthcare within the IPS is to provide prisoners with access to the same quality and range of health services as available to persons entitled to General Medical Services in the community.

 

Any person on committal to prison providing a history of illicit substance misuse and testing positive for opioids is offered a medically assisted symptomatic detoxification for operational reasons. Patients can, as part of the assessment process, discuss other treatment options with healthcare staff; those options may include stabilisation on methadone maintenance for persons who wish to continue on maintenance while in prison and when they return to the community on release.

 

Persons in custody presenting with addiction issues have access to specialist addiction services, and are actively encouraged to engage with those services. I can advise the deputy that the IPS have confirmed that the person referred to is receiving appropriate medical treatment in the Midlands Prison.

Item Type:Dail Debates
Source:Oireachtas
Date:12 July 2016
EndNote:View
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
T Demographic characteristics > Prison Inmate (prisoner)
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland

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