More than 70% of prisoners ‘have addiction issues’

Thirty people waiting for beds in mental health facilities, says prison service director

Cells at Cloverhill Prison. Prison Service director general Michael Donnellan described the Irish prison population as “a massive problem”. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Cells at Cloverhill Prison. Prison Service director general Michael Donnellan described the Irish prison population as “a massive problem”. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Irish prisons have become the “asylums” of the 21st century with large numbers of prisoners suffering from severe mental health issues, the prison service director general has said.

Speaking before a hearing of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Prison Service director general Michael Donnellan described the Irish prison population as “a massive problem” and said 30 people were awaiting beds in a mental health care facility.

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