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European Committee for Prevention of Torture Report on Prisons

category national | crime and justice | other press author Wednesday October 10, 2007 16:37author by C Murray Report this post to the editors

Prison and Places of Detention 2006.

This morning the State gave assurances to the Council of Europe that the health and Safety of
Irish prisoners would be upheld. This unusual occurence happened because it is the second
such report from outside the state which highlights the problems in our prisons. Both the
Amnesty International report for 2006 and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture
highlighted the murder of Gary Douch in a holding cell int the basement of Mountjoy and the
continued medieval practices of slopping out in that prison. The Committee visited ten
Garda stations, seven prisons and the Central Mental Hospital. The report is damning.
Joy Gates
Joy Gates

It was compiled in 2006 after the visits to the places of detention, the problems occurred
whist Michael Mc Dowell was Minister for Justice. There were two plans and one purchase
of land by the Minister to ameliorate the inhumane conditions. One is caught in a
enquiry into land Purchase at Thornton, the other one was to build a huge court complex
and detention area in the Phoenix Park.

There has been no formal response by the Department of Justice to the report:

http://www.justice.ie

The right hand column of the site has the speeches and press releases.
The left hand column has the responsibility areas and if you scroll down to the 'Prisons'
section there are published the 2006 Prisons Reports by the Visiting Committees.

Indymedia articles on the death of Gary Douch and the Thornton Hall debacle:-
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/77657
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/77954

The media coverage:- http://www.ireland.com
The US State Department Coverage of the Irish prison System for the same period:-
http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78818.htm

author by C Murraypublication date Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

http://www.cpt.coe.int/documents/irl/2007-10-10-eng.htm
http://www.cpt.coe.int/en/states/irl.htm

There has been no formal response yet from http://www.justice.ie
but the State responded in the Dail yesterday. The report focussed on the issues relating to the
Douch case. Gary Douch died twenty four hours after asking for protection and having being
moved into a holding cell with five other mem in the basement of Mountjoy. His death led
to the rare statement of apology from the Justice Dept to his family. He was one of five serious
assaults within the prison system in 2006. there were also two suicides. The Amnesty report
is at link in the piece above. it highlights the same issues as the European Council on issues
of health and safety for people in places of detention.

The Reports for visits to Prisons and Places of detention main page at link:- details visits
to other EU states also.

Related Link: http://www.cpt.coe.int/
author by :-)publication date Thu Oct 11, 2007 14:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Once upon a time the Irish Penal Reform trust reflected the concerns of busy people who updated their campaigns on a regular basis. Then I suppose they found that sa they became more important & as often is the case, less busy - their youthful passions no longer carried such a priority.

All the same, if next year people express horror at a sporting event that a state of less than 5 million people with a prison population of 85 per 100,000 has done next to nothing to address the concerns of international human rights organisations - you will always be able to put such bad manners in perspective. Of course no-one will point out that per capita & based on spendingas percentage of state budget, Ireland has one of the worst prison & psichiatric services in the world.

report 2006 http://www.iprt.ie/iprt/1754

& now go up to chris' comment & read what they - the disrespectful unsporting foreigners say about you.

author by Commentpublication date Fri Dec 21, 2007 19:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The last report written by Justice Kinlen was published today, in which the justice criticised
the office and former Head of Justice in the Republic, Michael Mc Dowell (who today won
a case against Dunnes Stores which has been highly publicised on the radio).

The report is furnished through mainstream media with differing emphases:

In the Republic the issue is the late Justice's Criticism of the proposed Thornton Hall
super-prison, which has been investigated by an Oireachtas Committee in relation
to the accquisition of the land and the price it cost.

In the North, the Telegraph focusses on the Justice's criticism of Michael Mc Dowell possibly
being in breach of the Good Friday Agreement by not providing a complaints procedure
or structure similar to the North's Ombudsman for Prisons.

Justice Kinlen also criticised the handling by the Justice Department of the murder
of Gary Douch in Mountjoy Jail in 2006 which saw inadequate response to the issue
of inquiry. The inquiry set up by Michael Mc Dowell consisted of a former Garda and the deputy
secretary of DOJ. http://www.justice.ie

The reports on the death of Douch are on the newswire and detailed in the above
article which is the European Commission on Torture report.

The murder of Douch led to an apology being issued by the Dept to the family and survivors
of the prisoner in the run-up to the 2007 election, he had applied for protection and was
held in a holding cell in the basement of Mountjoy with five other men. He had been kicked
punched and strangled to death. Protests by the Prison officers association re
contraband are ongoing.

http://www.indymedia.ie/article/82707
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/77657

author by PDFpublication date Fri Dec 21, 2007 19:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/5th_inspector_of%20...s_RPT

The link is top of the press release pile on the right hand column.
It appears that Amnesty intl. European Prevention of Torture Committee and The Late
Dermot Kinlen found that the Irish Prison System under the stewardship of the PD Mc
Dowell to be lacking in basic Human Rights, indeed to be in violation of the rights
of prisoners.

The slopping out has not stopped.
The Thornton Hall site is in question over corruption.
There are inadequate facilities for psych and rehab.
Some prisoners are locked up 23 hours a day.
Education funding was cut.
Lack of protection from threatened violence.

http://www.justice.ie :-has published the final report of Justice Kinlen in PDF on its web-site.

author by Scepticpublication date Sat Dec 22, 2007 14:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

“TO BE LACKING IN BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS, INDEED TO BE IN VIOLATION OF THE RIGHTS OF PRISONERS.”

The issues mentioned are ones of enhancing prisoner welfare and safety, not basic human rights except where a prisoner is killed by other prisoners. Two other issues of relevance are:

1. The reports are not very meaningful unless compared to those on other States. Even in very well run States by international comparisons it is quite common to get reprimands, with variable levels of justification, from Human Right bodies.

2. In general only western States are open to voluntary surveillance and inspection by international bodies and NGOs though the abuses in non-western States are very much worse. Thus one can expect more coverage and detailed reprimands of western than non-western States like the ROI. This needs to be borne in mind.

 
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