22nd April 2022
IPRT welcomed the opportunity to make a brief submission to the Sub-Committee on Mental Health regarding its role in conducting Pre-Legislative Scrutiny (PLS) on the Mental Health (Amendment) Bill. This follows a letter to the Committee in January 2022 highlighting the mental health crisis arising in Ireland’s prisons and asking the Sub-Committee to consider the various parallel processes ongoing such as the work of the High-Level Task Force and the work ongoing on the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Bill 2021.
IPRT is gravely concerned by the ongoing detention and treatment of people with mental illness in Irish prisons, with people inappropriately held in isolation units and other areas of prisons while awaiting mental healthcare in appropriate settings. This is a situation that the Inspector of Mental Health Services has said “fundamentally breaches their human rights”.
It is important to emphasise when reading this submission that IPRT’s advocacy primarily focuses on the rights of people detained within prison, as opposed to those detained in forensic mental health settings and/or engaged in mental health treatment more widely. IPRT, therefore, has limited experience and expertise in the rights of patients receiving mental health services and the broader mental health legal framework. IPRT has started building our knowledge base in this area, primarily through the recent commissioning of an IHREC-funded scoping study on ‘Access to rights for people detained in forensic mental health settings in Ireland’.
Read the IPRT submission in full here.
Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.