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Sunday Business Post: ‘Urgent’ need to address custodial ill treatment

14th February 2010

"The government should ‘urgently address’ allegations of ill treatment of people in custody, the Council of Europe has said following a review of Irish prisons and Garda stations," writes John Burke in The Sunday Business Post.

The article reports that The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) took the "unusual" step of presenting an interim report to Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern, after concluding its examination of the treatment of people detained in Irish prisons and in Garda custody. The CPT visited places of detention in Ireland over five days, finishing 5th February 2010.

The article quotes Dr Mario Felice, head of the delegation, as saying that interim reports were presented to governments only when there was "a glaring example where care was lacking" in the treatment of inmates.

The delegation visited Cork Prison, Limerick Prison (female section), Midlands Prison, Mountjoy Prison, Portlaoise Prison and St Patrick’s Institution; the delgation also made targetted visits to Cloverhill and Wheatfield Prisons and the Dóchas Women’s Centre to examine care of prisoners with a mental health disorder.

The record of the Irish Prison Service on controlling violence between prisoners, and the link between the size of the prison population and gang violence in jails, are likely to be of central focus in the report, which is due to be presented to the government in July. The government has six months to respond.

IPRT and the ICCL have issued a joint-call on the government to make the committee’s initial findings public.

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