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Home > Report to the Government of Ireland on the visit to Ireland carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 23 September to 4 October 2019.

European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. (2020) Report to the Government of Ireland on the visit to Ireland carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 23 September to 4 October 2019. Strasbourg: Council of Europe. CPT/Inf (2020) 37.

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URL: https://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/news-2020/-/asset_p...


The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has published a report on its seventh periodic visit to Ireland, which took place from 23 September to 4 October 2019, together with the response of the Irish Government. In the five prison establishments visited, prisoners stated that the vast majority of prison officers treated them correctly; however, a small number of prison officers are inclined to use more physical force than is necessary and to verbally abuse prisoners. Further, from an examination of a number of cases, the CPT found that the current complaints system cannot be considered fit for purpose.

In the three psychiatric facilities visited by the CPT, patients generally spoke highly of staff who displayed a caring attitude. Further, it was positive that as regards the use of means of restraint, the emphasis was on de-escalation and the use of lower level holds, and that there was no excessive recourse to seclusion. However, some of the episodes of seclusion noted were rather lengthy and the national code of practice on seclusion was not always strictly followed. The report also notes that voluntary patients could be subject to restrictions, including being physically restrained, or placed in seclusion. Further, it comments that involuntary placement and involuntary treatment are two separate issues and that the involuntary administration of medicine should be subject to a separate decision with the possibility of appeal and an independent second opinion. 

P.45 Drug-related issues

  1. The CPT’s delegation observed once again that drug misuse and a high prevalence of drugs remained a major problem in all the prisons visited, with the exception of Arbour Hill Prison. Prison staff admitted that there were still significant problems with illicit drug misuse and that many of the incidents in the prisons were drug related. 

In this regard, the Irish Prison Service drugs policy and strategy paper “Keeping drugs out of prison” remains relevant. Nevertheless, a new drugs strategy is under preparation which will inter alia include a review of measures to prevent drugs getting into prisons taking account of issues such as technological advances (e.g. drones) and changing patterns of illicit drug use as well as seek to implement the recommendations from the recent “Review of Drug and Alcohol Treatment Services for Adult Offenders in Prison and in the Community”. 

The CPT’s delegation observed positively that a “stepped” drug assessment and treatment approach including non-pharmacological interventions was the essence of the methadone treatment programme introduced at Cork Prison since its previous visit to this establishment. Further, such programmes were again in evidence at Midlands and Mountjoy Prisons.

Further, the CPT recalls that harm reduction measures represent an important component in preventing the transmission of blood-borne viruses and the spread of infectious diseases in prison establishments. Consequently, the CPT would like to receive further information on the harm-reduction measures in place or planned in prisons, such as needle and syringe exchange programmes, access to condoms. Full information on the existence of such harm reduction programmes should be given to inmates by health care staff immediately after committal. 

The CPT recommends that the Irish authorities continue to pursue vigorously the various strands of the drugs strategy programme. Further, it would like to be informed when the new drugs strategy is adopted.

Item Type
Report
Publication Type
Irish-related, Report
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Harm reduction, Crime prevention
Date
November 2020
Identification #
CPT/Inf (2020) 37
Pages
80 p.
Publisher
Council of Europe
Corporate Creators
European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Place of Publication
Strasbourg
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