A NEW model of intervention for the mental health of prisoners is to be introduced in prisons in the coming months.
The measure was revealed by the Director General of the Irish Prison Service, Caron McCaffrey, marking the publication of the third report from the Self-Harm Assessment and Data Analysis in Irish prisons.
The report highlighted that there were 203 incidents of self-harm in Irish prisons in 2019, down by 25% on the previous year.
Ms McCaffrey said: “Research and investigation into possible models of intervention has been ongoing for some time and as we publish this report, further work is ongoing in procuring external professional expertise in working with the IPS to develop a mode of intervention based on a recognised international and effective model that can be adopted specifically for use within the IPS. The data provided from the analysis of the three years of SADA reporting has proved vital in shaping this response and it is hoped that our annual report for 2021 will compliment a bespoke report on the introduction and effectiveness of this new intervention.
“As it stands, it is hoped to have this new model of intervention in place during the second quarter of 2021, which will include staff information and training sessions across disciplines.”
The Executive Director of the Irish Penal Reform Trust, Fíona Ní Chinnéide, said: “Prison is a stressful environment and can be highly distressing for people with mental health issues. The high rates of self-harm in prison underscore the need for increased use of alternatives, such as community-based sanctions and integrated community sentences, along with adequately resourced mental health services and trauma-informed models of care in prison.