Writing in The Irish Times, Fiona Gartland reports that prisoners who attend the Dublin District Child Care Court are being held in prison vans while waiting for their cases because there are no holding cells at the court.
Last Thursday, one prisoner was held in a prison van for more than three hours while awaiting his child’s case.
The Irish Penal Reform Trust has said it is concerned prisoners may have to spend long periods in the vans at certain court locations, particularly in advance of court hearings involving the care of their children.
Acting Executive Director of IPRT, Fíona Ní Chinnéide, is quoted in the article as saying:
“The practice of handcuffing prisoners inside cellular vehicles – particularly where there are no working seat belts – is also a serious concern, and may risk prisoner safety”.
She said the trust would like to see regular inspections reports from the Prison Service Escort Corp made public, alongside operating procedures grounded in international best practice.
“At a very minimum, the length of time individual prisoners are detained in cellular transport must be recorded on the prisoner escort record system, and where issues are identified these must be addressed”.
Read the article here.