Five prison staff injured in violent prison unit incidents in Portlaoise

Michelle Hogan

Reporter:

Michelle Hogan

Five prison staff injured in two separate incidents in Portlaoise reported to gardaí

Five prison staff injured in two separate incidents in Portlaoise reported to gardaí

Five members of prison staff were injured in two separate incidents at the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise last weekend, the Irish Prison Service has confirmed. 

Two incidents took place at the National Violence Reduction Unit (NVRU) which is based in the Midlands Prison at the Dublin Road, Portlaoise injuring the staff members. The prison service said this has been referred to gardaí.

The NVRU was developed to rehabilitate 'those prisoners who represent the highest risk of violence to staff'.

A spokesperson for the Irish Prison Service said this happened on Sunday, July 21. 

"I can confirm that there were two separate incidents in the National Violence Reduction Unit on Sunday 21st July in which 5 staff were injured. These incidents have been referred to An Garda Síochána," the spokesperson said. 

There are media reports that one staff member received a stab wound but the prison service was unable to confirm this.

The NVRU, located at the medium-security Midlands Prison in Portlaoise, was opened in 2018.

The spokesperson said the unit is rehabilitative aiming to help prisoners. 

"The establishment of the Unit marked a significant change in how the Irish Prison Service engages with those prisoners who represent the highest risk of violence to staff, to other prisoners and to our communities. 

"The approach aims to meet each prisoner’s complex needs, through improving their psychological health, their wellbeing, and their behaviour in a centre of excellence operated by highly motivated, highly trained and highly competent staff.

"This is first and foremost a rehabilitative unit, where prisoners will benefit from a purposeful regime and are supported to address their challenging behaviour with a clear focus and emphasis on progression and re-integration.

"While operational and security factors will always be very important in a prison environment, a key feature of the management structure of this Unit is the significantly enhanced role of the Psychology Service.

"As a result this Unit is co-led by Assistant Governor and Senior Psychologist with equal importance placed on both operational and psychological factors. This new approach is intrinsic to the ethos of the Unit and the basis for the decision-making process," they said. 

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