All prisoners are medically assessed on committal to prison. This includes a mental health assessment which can be employed to develop an individual care plan. Where clinically indicated, the prisoner is referred to a forensic psychiatrist who, subject to his/her findings, may make certain recommendations to the Governor for the care of the prisoner.
The Central Mental Hospital provides psychiatrist consultant-led in-reach sessions to all Dublin prisons and Portlaoise and Midlands Prisons. Psychiatry services are provided to other prisons by visiting psychiatrists.
The Irish Prison Service has access to a limited number of places in the Central Mental Hospital for prisoners who require residential mental health treatment. The Irish Prison Service facilitates the diversion of mentally ill people from the criminal justice system. There is a diversion system in place in Cloverhill Prison in collaboration with the clinicians from the Central Mental Hospital which ensures as far as possible that people presenting before the courts, or indeed at an earlier stage of the criminal justice system, where the infraction is a reflection of an underlying mental illness are referred and treated appropriately.