19th August 1999
Burke calls for closure of Mountjoy jail
Dublin Sinn Fein Councillor Christy Burke has called on the government to immediately act on the findings of a Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform report which admitted that 20% of prisoners who inject drugs began doing so while in prison. Councillor Burke called for the closure of Mountjoy jail.
Councillor Burke said:
``For some time now Sinn Fein have been highlighting the fact that the prison system as it stands is contributing to the drugs problem in Ireland. Medical services, specifically drug treatment facilities are totally inadequate. Illegal drugs are widely available in the jails. Mountjoy Jail is widely recognised as being a drugs den so it comes as no surprise to learn that at least one in five prisoners began injecting drugs while in jail.
``We believe that Mountjoy is a threat to the lives of its inmates. It should be closed down and replaced with a properly equipped institution. To deal with the immediate problem Sinn Fein put forward a number of proposals including:
- Addicts convicted to custodial sentences should be sent to a custodial drug treatment centre which is fully equipped medically and has access to counselling and social services.
- Drugs free units within jails, if they are to be successful, must be adequately resourced and have proper back up services.
- Remand prisoners should be kept in a separate institution from convicted prisoners.''
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