A short article in The Irish Times reports on the new healthcare initiative which has resulted in the diversion of hundreds of people in prison with psychiatric problems into more suitable community-based treatment services. 91 prisoners with a mental illness were diverted into community treatment last year. This contrasts with just 19 diversions in 2005.
The article cites evidence that the rate of mental illness among prisoners on remand in prison is up to 40 times higher than among the general community.
The article quotes Dr Conor O'Neill, consultant forensic psychiatrist at the Central Mental Hospital: "Prisons are toxic and inappropriate places to manage people with major mental illnesses who are vulnerable in such settings, and it is not the role of the criminal justice system to arrange mental health care."
More info about the project itself: http://www.nda.ie
Read the article in full here.