Mountjoy High Support Unit Wins Taoiseach’s Public Service Excellence Award

Mountjoy High Support Unit Wins Taoiseach's Public Service Excellence Award

The High Support Unit (HSU) in Mountjoy prison has won a Taoiseach’s Public Service Excellence Award which was presented at an awards ceremony in Dublin Castle on Thursday 21 June, 2012.

The High Support Unit (HSU), which is a 10 bedded facility, opened in the Medical Unit in Mountjoy Prison in December 2010. The HSU provides expert, supportive, short term input for prisoners who are in an acutely disturbed phase of a mental illness or require observation for a physical illness. The HSU provides a more controlled and supportive environment for a vulnerable prisoner as a short term intervention.

The project is a collaboration between Mountjoy Prison and the in-reach Mental Health Team from the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum (HSE).

The Director General of the Irish Prison Service Michael Donnellan praised the staff involved in the project saying “I wish to acknowledge and thank all those who were involved in the development and establishment of this excellent facility and who continue to operate it successfully”. “In particular I would like again to acknowledge to role played by Governor Whelan and the Mountjoy Complex Nurse Manager Enda Kelly, who collaboratively with Dr. Damian Mohan, consultant forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Yvette Giblin, registrar in forensic psychiatry and Mr. Andy Kelly, community psychiatric nurse, led the initiative along with the prison doctors and nursing staff”

“Transformation, change and reform is the way forward for the Irish Prison Service and the HSU, which was recommended by the Inspector of Prison Judge Michael Reilly, signifies a change in custom and practice in the management of prisoners with mental illness or increased physical healthcare needs. Following on the commitment in the new IPS Three Year Strategic Plan to improving prisoner rehabilitation through the development of a multiagency approach to offending the IPS intends to adopt the Mountjoy HSU model as a template for other prisons within the Service” added the Director General.

An International Judging Panel also recently awarded this project a World Health Organisation Health in Prisons Best Practice Award in October 2011. In addition the HSU won the award in its category “Excellence in Healthcare Management” at the Irish Healthcare Awards in 2011 and it also won the Overall award at the Awards.