An Oversight Group was established by Minister for Mental Health to review and update the existing mental health policy A Vision for Change. As part of its consultation, the Group accepted submissions from Mental Health Reform members on the issue. As a member of Mental Health Reform, IPRT made a submission outlining the specific vulnerabilities of people with mental health difficulties who come into contact with the criminal justice system and how best to support them at a policy-level.
Among other issues, IPRT’s submission recommends:
- Equitable service provision for those coming into contact with the criminal justice system. Discrimination against this cohort should be addressed and provided for by an Amendment to the Equal Status Acts 2000-2015.
- Development and enforcement of Inter-agency protocols that promote the social inclusion of prisoners.
- Abolition of the practice of solitary confinement in Irish prisons.
- Diversion of mentally-ill individuals away from the criminal justice system and to an appropriate clinical setting or service, supported by law and policy.
- Enhanced screening procedures for individuals with mental illness should be available across the entire prison estate.
- A sufficient number of forensic mental health spaces must be ring-fenced to meet current demand and provide for projected future needs.
- Ratification of the OPCAT and the establishment of a National Preventative Mechanism in order to allow for more frequent inspections, safeguarding and protecting the human rights of individuals detained.
- Consistent publication of data by the Irish Prison Service on the number of prisoners with severe mental illness waiting to be transferred to an appropriate facility and the lengths of time waiting.
To read the submission in full, click here.