Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Department of Justice and Equality
64. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality her views on the fact that a person (details supplied) is being held in continuous solidarity confinement in violation of their human rights and that the advice of medical professionals regarding their custody plan has not been implemented; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27370/16]
I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that violently disruptive prisoners are managed under the Irish Prison Service Violently Disruptive Prisoner Policy, which was revised as recently as September 2016. Management in accordance with the policy includes an input from all of the relevant services in relation to the prisoner’s conditions of detention. This involves case conference discussion on a regular basis, with participation from a multi-disciplinary team including operational, therapeutic and healthcare services.
I can advise the Deputy that the prisoner referred to is one of a small number of violently disruptive prisoners currently being managed within the terms of the Violently Disruptive Prisoners Policy. Any decisions that are taken in relation to the regime in place for the prisoner are taken in full consultation with the relevant services and are cognisant of the advice received from them. In this case, the prisoner can spend all prison unlock periods out of cell, to include access to the exercise yard, gym, shower facilities, phone calls, visits, healthcare services and association with a small number of prisoners, assessed as suitable by the Governor.
The Deputy will appreciate that when dealing with prisoners who pose a particular challenge to the good order of a prison and a safe environment for staff and prisoners, a balance is required between the rehabilitation of individual prisoners and the requirement to provide safe, secure and humane conditions while in custody.
The Irish Prison Service is in the process of setting up a specific unit to better manage the risks and needs of such prisoners. This unit is being developed based on international best practice and will allow for the management of particularly high risk prisoners within a small and highly supervised unit, where their management is informed from both an operational and psychological perspective. This unit will allow for specialist assessment of individual risks to be carried out, followed by individual and/or group work to try to reduce the risk of harm to others, thus enabling a return to normal or a more appropriate location as risk reduces.