Thursday, 30 May 2013

Questions (190)

Thomas P. Broughan


190. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has considered the findings of recent research by a team from the Central Mental Hospital on the mental health needs of inmates in St. Patrick's Institution; if he has plans to ensure that his Department will assist St. Patrick's Institution to make a drug-free unit available for inmates under 18 years of age in the institution without delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26364/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the report referred to has not yet been received by the Irish Prison Service. Notwithstanding that I can confirm that the National Forensic Mental Health Service has been providing an in-reach service to St. Patrick's Institution for the last two years. Currently a consultant forensic psychiatrist attends one day a week, a community psychiatric nurse attends one and a half days' a week and a non-consultant hospital doctor attends for a half day. In addition a multi-agency healthcare meeting is convened on a weekly basis in St. Patrick's Institution attended by the prison doctor, a representative from the psychiatric in-reach team, nurses, psychologist, addiction counsellors, probation officer and chaplain for the purpose of addressing healthcare issues pertaining to the inmates which includes mental health.

It is Irish Prison Service Policy not to mix under 18s with adult prisoners and while there is a dedicated Drug Free Unit in St. Patrick's Institution it facilitates those over 18. However, there are a range of drug rehabilitation programmes available to those under 18 in St. Patrick's Institution which involve a significant multidimensional input from general primary care, mental health services, psychology, addiction psychiatry and addiction counselling. Any inmate who is engaged with services whilst in prison are referred to community addiction services as part of their pre-release plan. Once the report is received it will be given due consideration by the Irish Prison Service.