Tuesday, 4 March 2008
Dáil Eireann Debate
106. Deputy John Perry asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of prisoners who participated in drug detoxification programmes in Irish prisons in 2007; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9066/08]
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Brian Lenihan): The dedicated multidisciplinary drug detoxification programme in the Medical Unit in Mountjoy Prison involves both prison based staff and external agencies. The aim of the Unit is to assist prisoners who have indicated a desire to move from either a situation of current drug use or existing substitution programme to drug free status.
Participation is based on assessment of suitability for the programme. Each programme lasts six weeks and can facilitate up to nine prisoners. An essential element of this programme is that suitable arrangements are organised to ensure appropriate throughcare and follow-up of participants. During 2007, a total of 56 prisoners participated in this programme.
The detoxification programme is just one of the many drug rehabilitation programmes currently being offered in Irish prisons. These programmes seek to reduce the demand for drugs within the prison system through education, treatment and rehabilitation services for drug-addicted prisoners. Particular initiatives include, inter alia, methadone maintenance, education programmes, addiction counselling and drug therapy programmes. These programmes involve a significant multidimensional input by a diverse range of general and specialist services provided both by the Irish Prison Service and visiting statutory and non-statutory organisations.
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