The Starting point here is, Who, and How are the Drugs Getting in? Could it be the Staff? Probation Officers, Trust Nobody; Start with the Delivery men, and Common Sense knows, one female could turn over for Early Release, Do a Deal, like other Countries….

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Top women’s jail has highest rate of drug detection

23rd December 2021


The State’s main prison for female offenders has a higher drug-detection rate than any men’s facility in the prison network.

A total of 46% of the prisoners tested at the Dóchas Centre in Dublin over the past three years had consumed cannabis, heroin, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, and cocaine.

This is almost double the average of one-in-four inmates who tested positive throughout the 12 detention facilities in the Irish Prison Estate, between 2018 and 2021, according to data released under the Freedom of Information Act.The State’s main prison for female offenders has a higher drug-detection rate than any men’s facility in the prison network. Pic: Gareth Chaney/Collins Dublin© Provided by Extra.ie The State’s main prison for female offenders has a higher drug-detection rate than any men’s facility in the prison network. Pic: Gareth Chaney/Collins Dublin

Inmates’ hair, urine and saliva were used to carry out 2,554 drug tests in prisons over the past three years.

Castlerea Prison in Co Roscommon had the next-highest rate of positive drug tests with almost 43% of 283 tests completed since 2018 detecting illegal substances.

One-in-three inmates tested for drugs at Midlands Prison in Portlaoise, Co Laois, received positive results during the same period, as 243 prisoners underwent screening.One-in-three inmates tested for drugs at Midlands Prison in Portlaoise, Co Laois, received positive results during the same period, as 243 prisoners underwent screening. Pic: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin© Provided by Extra.ie One-in-three inmates tested for drugs at Midlands Prison in Portlaoise, Co Laois, received positive results during the same period, as 243 prisoners underwent screening. Pic: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Meanwhile, drug use was detected in nearly 28% of the 140 inmates tested at Wheatfield Prison in Clondalkin, Dublin.

The highest number of drug tests conducted during the three-year period was 636 at Loughan House open prison in Cavan, almost 26% of which detected the use of illicit substances.

Just seven tests were carried out at Arbour Hill prison in Dublin – which is the national centre for male sex offenders – all of which detected the use of illegal substances.A total of 46% of the prisoners tested at the Dóchas Centre in Dublin over the past three years had consumed cannabis, heroin, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, and cocaine. Pic: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin© Provided by Extra.ie A total of 46% of the prisoners tested at the Dóchas Centre in Dublin over the past three years had consumed cannabis, heroin, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, and cocaine. Pic: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Cork Prison tested inmates 50 times in three years, while Cloverhill in Dublin conducted 73 tests in the same period.

A spokesman for the Irish Prison Service (IPS) said that the use of drug testing was a matter for the management of each detention facility across the country.

‘The need for drug testing varies across the prisons and, while there is central guidance to prison governors issued by our operations directorate, it is a matter for prison management to determine if a prison requires testing,’ the spokesman said.

‘The purpose of this testing is to allow governors to make decisions in relation to the management of prisoners in the interests of good order, security, health and safety in prisons; and to assist in the decision-making process in relation to sentence management.’Just seven tests were carried out at Arbour Hill prison in Dublin – which is the national centre for male sex offenders – all of which detected the use of illegal substances. Pic: Google Street View© Provided by Extra.ie Just seven tests were carried out at Arbour Hill prison in Dublin – which is the national centre for male sex offenders – all of which detected the use of illegal substances. Pic: Google Street View

The spokesman said drug testing had been reduced since March 2020 as a result of the pandemic, but had previously increased from 448 in 2018 to 1,128 in 2019.

A comprehensive examination of the drugs used in our prisons is unavailable, as testing is not conducted on substances found within detention centres.

This is despite a policy commitment by the Irish Prison Service in 2006 to keep records on the types of drugs seized.

However, an IPS internal briefing document in 2017 did contain some information about patterns of drug use in Irish prisons.In October, prison chiefs seized €150,000 worth of cocaine, heroin and tablets in a major crackdown at Mountjoy Prison. Pic: Shutterstock© Provided by Extra.ie In October, prison chiefs seized €150,000 worth of cocaine, heroin and tablets in a major crackdown at Mountjoy Prison. Pic: Shutterstock

The document stated: ‘There appears to be a decrease in the use of traditional drugs, such as heroin, opiates etc., and an increasing use of newer drugs of abuse, including novel psychoactive substances.’

Despite the reported drop, class A drugs are still smuggled into prisons in massive quantities.

In October, prison chiefs seized €150,000 worth of cocaine, heroin and tablets in a major crackdown at Mountjoy Prison.

And while investigations are ongoing, gardaí have said that the prime suspects are part of the Kinahan crime cartel.

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