Tue, 24 Nov, 2020 – 06:30
The Government has been warned of possible “inhuman treatment” after a naked prisoner, confined to a cell covered in faeces and urine, was found by a European torture watchdog during an inspection.
The Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture said they came across the naked prisoner and another distressed inmate in a visit to the D2 wing of Cloverhill Prison in September 2019.
“When the CPT’s delegation met one of the men, he was lying naked in his cell, with the cell smeared with faeces and puddles of urine on the floor.
“There were no blankets in the cell and his poncho [given instead of clothes] lying next to him was soaked in urine.”
It said the man had not been provided a shower in the 13 days he was in the special observation cell.
A second man was in a “similar distressed state” with no shower or out of cell time. There was no care plan for either men and poor records of any intervention, including food.
“In the CPT’s view, such a situation might amount to inhuman and degrading treatment,” the report said.
In its 2019 inspection report on Ireland’s detention facilities, a follow-up to its 2014 audit, the committee also had a “major concern” at the “rising number” of homeless people ending up in prison, particularly in the D2 wing, with numbers up almost 50% in 2019.
It said many of these homeless offenders could be granted bail by the courts, but can’t be because the HSE community mental health services won’t take them because they are homeless.
It said their mental health condition “continues to deteriorate as they are too ill to consent to treatment”.
It said an inreach psychiatric service, run by the Central Mental Hospital and the Courts Liaison Service, had identified 100 prisoners in Cloverhill Prison that were “actively psychotic”.
There were 25 prisoners on the waiting list for admission to the CMH when they visited.