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IPS to review hospital escorts policy for inmates

19 Apr 2021 / justice Print

IPS to review hospital escorts policy for inmates

The Office of the Inspector of Prisons says the Irish Prison Service has accepted a recommendation that it should review its procedures for escorting prisoners to hospital.

The call came in a report on the death of a 67-year-old prisoner in the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in March 2019.

The prisoner, referred to as Mr C, was serving a life sentence in Mountjoy Prison.

Complex needs

The inspector’s report said he had “complex medical needs”, which required numerous hospital admissions in addition to outpatient appointments throughout his time in prison.

“It is understandable that his family were upset that a gravely-ill man was transferred to and from hospital in handcuffs,” the report said.

It stressed, however, that IPS staff had followed existing procedures, which states that prisoners should remain handcuffed at all times.

The inspector’s office said that, while it acknowledged the need for safe and secure custody when escorting prisoners outside of prisons, a ‘one size fits all’ approach did not take into consideration the specific needs of individuals who were extremely unwell.

“It is recommended that the IPS reviews its procedures regarding hospital escorts and considers making specific provision for safe and secure custody of gravely ill prisoners in a humane manner,” the report said.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland