IRELAND HAS BEGUN taking steps to improve the quality of life for prisoners, it was announced at a UN hearing for Ireland’s Universal Periodical Review yesterday.
The Irish ambassador to the UN, Gerard Corr, said that Ireland had looked at the 127 recommendations from peer states and had fully accepted 91, accepted 17 in part and does not support 19.
Regarding the recommendations, he said that the government has begun looking at the question of prison accommodation, overcrowding and in-cell sanitation.
On 6 March, said Corr, Justice Minister Alan Shatter visited Mountjoy to look at the prison’s C Division, which is due to open this month. He said that refurbishment had radically improved conditions for prisoners and that the C Division has a 28-cell committal area for new prisoners, as recommended in a 2009 report.
The C Division also has a drug-free area and this will support any person in prison who is drug free, has illegal drug-free status or is prescribed methadone.
By the end of 2012, all prisons will have a closed drug-free section.
He also noted the introduction of in-cell sanitation of all cells in C Division, which is similar in the B Division area. Corr said this means that 317 cells in Mountjoy – almost 60 per cent of the prison – will have in-cell sanitation by the end of this year.