4th October 2010
Drug seizures in Mountjoy are now set to reach a record level of more than 700 this year. New figures from the Department of Justice reveal that since the beginning of last year illegal drugs have been seized in Mountjoy 1,074 times. This compares with 1,398 seizures in the other 13 prisons in the Republic combined. Mountjoy now accounts for 45 per cent of all drug seizures in Irish jails
Liam Herrick, director of IPRT, said the figures confirmed the extent of the drugs culture in Mountjoy. Overcrowding has made it virtually impossible to stop drug smuggling or to help inmates stay off drugs. "It is almost impossible to manage Mountjoy given the chronic level of overcrowding," he said.
The increase in drug seizures across the prison system is being attributed to the intensified searching regime which was officially launched in May 2008. From the May 2008 launch of the new search regime - known as Operation Support Group - to the end of 2008, some 351 drug seizures were made across the prison system. During the new search regime's first full year of operation last year the number of seizures increased significantly to 1,293.
This year looks certain to see another record, with 1,179 seizures made to September 12th across the prison system. If those trends continue to the end of the year, the prison service will have seized drugs on a record estimated 1,500 occasions.