Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Department of Justice and Equality
Prison Drug Treatment Services
253. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the status of efforts to introduce therapeutic communities and drug free service facilities to prisons here; if he will engage with the Irish Prisons Service (IPS) to ensure a therapeutic community (TC) is introduced in prisons following a commitment by the IPS to introduce a TC; the timeframe for same; if his attention has been drawn to the large volume of academic research in support of the positive outcomes for such initiatives, in particular the positive findings of a 2016 longitudinal study by bodies (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51878/17]
The Irish Prison Service has advised that it is fully committed to supporting individuals who are seeking to address addiction issues through the availability of a comprehensive range of treatment options across the prison estate. As part of achieving this strategic action, the Irish Prison Service has committed in its Strategic Plan 2016 – 2018, to developing a Therapeutic Community within the Mountjoy Campus.
The concept of a Drug Free Therapeutic Community has been very successful in many jurisdictions, and the Irish Prison Service is actively considering how best to progress the concept within the Irish prison system.
The Irish Prison Service is developing this concept for the progression of persons in custody with an addiction history so that they can be better prepared for their engagement with mainstream services in the community. It intends to develop a bespoke training package for Therapeutic Community staff, and prison officers who choose to work in this area, so that the philosophy and values of the Therapeutic Community movement are fully reflected in the structure and delivery of this service in the Irish Prison System. This is a medium-term project which will be sustainable into the future and form an integral part of the care pathway of those with addiction issues.
The Irish Prison Service will continue to consult with all relevant stakeholders and intends to define a tender specification which will enable it to deliver a modern and effective service. The Irish Prison Service will be undertaking a literature review of all contemporary publications on Therapeutic Community services and outcomes so as to ensure that it is working in line with best international practice. It also intends to continue liaising with its World Health Organisation colleagues in regard to its development of this service.