‘The toilet was filthy and full of old excrement and other material’

The following are some of the “very disturbing” breaches of prisoners’ fundamental rights at St Patrick’s Institution as outlined by Inspector of Prisons Judge Michael Kelly.

Cases in the Committal area of the prison:

* Prisoner A had been placed in his cell minutes before I arrived. He was still standing in the cell. The cell was filthy. A considerable quantity of old, stale food was on the floor and especially behind the door. The toilet was not flushing — it was filthy and full of old excrement and other material. The sink was filthy, with no water in the taps. No pillow. No TV and bare wires from the wall.

Filthy bed frame. Filthy door and floor. Torn lino. Kit bag did not have information booklet. Not allowed make a telephone call to family. Cell cold. I spoke to the senior officer, asked him to look at the cell and give his opinion as to whether it was appropriate to have a prisoner in it. He was non-committal. The prisoner was moved to another cell, which was marginally better.

* Prisoner B had been moved that day to St Patrick’s. The cell was cold, it was dirty. The prisoner was crying and in bed when I had the door opened. He had been refused permission to telephone his father. He had not received the information booklet. The flushing mechanism for the toilet was not working and the toilet was filled with excrement.

* Prisoner C had been committed from a court in Dublin. He explained he had been in a holding cell in the court complex from approx noon to 6pm. This prisoner was shaking from the cold. The window was jammed in the open position. He had not been allowed telephone his family. The cell was filthy. The bed and frame were filthy. The flushing mechanism for the toilet was not working and the toilet was filled with excrement. The sink was filthy and the taps were not working...

He explained that he was on medication for a psychiatric illness since his stay in a psychiatric hospital some time before. He explained that if he did not get his medication each day, in the evening his head would ‘be all over the place’. He had not received his medication. I met with the nurse and relayed my information to him. The prisoner... was afraid and crying when I was leaving.

On one of Judge Reilly’s day visits...

* A prisoner in the committal area who that morning had been removed from his cell, brought to reception where he was strip-searched. There were no records of his removal or his search.

* Filthy cells, some with broken toilets. Dirty sluice room and showers.

* Two prisoners in a cell, one on the floor. Both on protection, both afraid to leave their cell as one alleged he had been badly beaten by another prisoner. The other alleged he had been stabbed three times in the past.

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Inmate deaths lead to call for culture changeInmate deaths lead to call for culture change


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