31st May 2011
Following the publication on Monday 30th May, 2011 of the Annual Report 2010 of the Office of the Inspector of Prisons, a number of media outlets highlighted the most serious concerns detailed in the report.
Minister Shatter spoke to RTÉ's 'Drivetime' on Mon 30th May, in a wide-ranging interview, in which he stated that "We need major changes within our prison system" and that "In 2011, it is unacceptable that we have prisoners slopping out... most two to a cell living with their own excrement." Listen back here.
The Irish Independent reports that the Inspector has set a July deadline for prison authorities to implement directives in the Annual Report, which identified "severe overcrowding, slopping-out and broken windows and equipment ... among the litany of concerns highlighted." The article details how by 1st July 2011, the Inspector wants procedures in place to deal with deaths in custody, along with records to back up any complaint and disciplinary procedures.
In a second article in the Irish Independent, Tom Brady reports that the Inspector of Prisons has called for the setting up of drug-free support units in every prison, and that a dedicated area should be available in each prison to accommodate prisoners who want to be separate from active drug users.
The Irish Examiner also reports on the deadline set by the Inspector of Prisons and how according to the report, "which also include those incarcerated for minor offences", prisoners are still being forced to live "in custodial conditions which directly contradict even the most basic human rights standards."
The Minister for Justice also published a new standards document from the Inspector of Prisons, Guidance on physical healthcare in a prison context, on the same day.