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Prisoners in Irish jails are being forced to sleep on floors

Reports by the Prison Visiting Committees of eleven prisons have been released this morning,

An observation cell at Cloverhill Prison.
An observation cell at Cloverhill Prison.
Image: Graham Hughes/Photocall Ireland!

SOME PRISONERS ARE being sent to jail because there is nowhere else for them to go while others are being forced to sleep on mattresses and floors.

That’s according to eleven reports by the Prison Visiting Committees released this morning, the committees visit prisons and hear complaints from prisoners.

The Cork Committee said it was concerned about the welfare of prisoners with a mental illness:

The committee strongly feels that some prisoners are being sent to prison because there is nowhere else for them to go.

While the Dóchas committee found that some women are not being released when they should be due to homelessness.

Sleeping on the floor

The report from the Cloverhill committee stated that inmates were sleeping on mattresses and floors.

It said that when the prison population increases to over 400 it has “led to inmates sometimes sleeping on floors, and pressure put on the services provided by the staff of the prison.

This year again we have received complaints from prisoners that committals have been out in their cell during the night on a mattress, which causes tension, and disruption during the night to all prisoners in the cell.

Meanwhile, the Mountjoy visiting committee raised concerns about the amount of time protected prisoners are spending in their cells, in some cases prisoners spent 22 hours a day.

The visiting committees did report improvements with the conditions of most of the country’s prisons.

Commenting on the reports, The Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald stated:

While the reports speak for themselves I am pleased to note the positive comments in terms of the training and education programmes and services in the prisons.

Limerick Prison has plans to create a more family friendly visiting regime which the Minister commented on, adding:

“The positive comments in terms of the more family friendly visiting regime is welcome, the new regime goes some way to ensuring closer contact of family units is maintained.”

Read: Prison officers hospitalised after being attacked with brush handles>

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