Contingency for reducing the risk of spread of
Please be advised that in consideration of Public Health advices the following further restriction is to be introduced across the Prisons Estate from Wednesday 25 March, 2020 namely – All visits to prisoners are to be restricted to one adult per visit.
The other previously announced restrictions in relation to social distancing etc., remain in place.
The measures listed below are necessary to reduce risk of the virus spreading to visitors, prisoners, prisoners’ families, staff and the wider community.
The Irish Prison Service, in line with the National Public Health Emergency Team (“NPHET”) and Government recommendations, and in the interests of the public health and the health and safety of our prisoners in our care, deems it appropriate and essential to introduce a programme of reduced access of visitors to the prison. These are pre-emptive measures to contain and decrease the likelihood of a potential spread of COVID-19 into the prison.
The unique environment of a prison and the sheer numbers and diversity of people who pass through our prisons make vigilance around infection prevention and control absolutely necessary.
The confirmation of a case of COVID-19 in a prison setting would present significant challenges for prison management in terms of controlling the spread of the virus amongst staff and prisoners, and the provision of appropriate medical treatment to affected persons.
In this regard, the Irish Prison Service is in discussion with the Department of Justice and Equality on a number of contingency measures to reduce the number of people in custody in a controlled manner.
The primary factor in the consideration of any prisoner for early release is public safety and no prisoner would be granted temporary release who poses an undue risk to public safety
The following measures in respect of visitors to prisoners are being implemented until otherwise advised:
- Visits will be restricted to 1 visit per prisoner per week.
- A limit of 1 adult per visit will apply.
- No under 18s will be admitted.
- Normal social distancing as advised by public health to apply including:
- no kissing
- no handshaking
- sneezing and coughing into elbow sleeve
- all visits conducted at a distance of 1 meter
- Visits will be time limited to 15 minutes per visit.
- Prisons will operate to a daily maximum of 80% of their visiting capacity.
- Visitors that appear to have flu like symptoms may be refused entry.
The Irish Prison Service continue to monitor the situation closely and act in line with Government and NPHET recommendations.
We recognise that such a step may be challenging for families and friends, but we are also cognizant of our priority and responsibility to protect the well-being of those in our care and those in our employment within the prison. The virus can be spread through community transmission and, within the confines of a prison, there is obviously an increased risk of a rapid spread of infection.
The Irish Prison Service are appealing that members of the public carefully consider visiting the prison and refrain from visiting the Prisons unless absolutely necessary.
Please check our website for updates.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.