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09 Aug 2022

Prison service confirms Covid-19 cases in Portlaoise and Dublin jails

Legal costs double compensation awarded to prisoners

Midlands Prison Portlaoise

The Irish Prison Service has confirmed that staff at two of its biggest prison complexes have tested positive for Covid-19 n Laois and Dublin.

The services issued two statements this week confirming outbreaks at the Midlands Prison Portlaoise and Mountjoy Prison in Dublin. The Laois outbreak was confirmed on Thursday.

"The Irish Prison Service can confirm, that a number of staff in the Midlands Prison have tested positive for Covid-19 and contact tracing is continuing in this regard.

The Irish Prison Service can also confirm there are no positive cases amongst the prisoner population. The service is working closely with HSE Public Health where both Contact Tracing and Covid swabbing is ongoing. The positive staff cases relate to a small cluster in the prison and arrangements have now been made for all staff to be tested," it said.

In a message to families of prisoners, the service said the Midlands Prison Outbreak Control Team (OCT) continues to engage with Prison Management to oversee appropriate actions to mitigate against the further possible spread of the disease within the prison.

"The Irish Prison Service is working closely with HSE Public Health with regard to the management of the current outbreak including arrangements for the mass testing of all staff in the Midland Prison.

"To help prevent the further spread of infection a more restricted regime has been introduced which may impact on access to video visits and phone calls in the short term for prisoners in precautionary isolation however we are working to ensure that we can continue to facilitate family contact as far as possible," it said.

There wear 826 prisoners in the Laois jail on February 12.

Meanwhile, the outbreak at Mountjoy Prison was confirmed on Wednesday involving a number of the staff relating to the Progression Unit of the prison. It said arrangements have been made for all staff working in this area to be tested.. 

The IPS also confirmed there are no positive cases amongst the prisoner population but actions are being taken similar to Portlaoise to reduce the risk of infection. The service advised that there would be an impact on the families of prisoners.

"To help prevent the further spread of infection a more restricted regime has been introduced which may impact on access to video visits and phone calls in the short term for prisoners in precautionary isolation however we are working to ensure that we can continue to facilitate family contact as far as possible," it said.

There wear 703 prisoners in the Dubin jail on February 12.

Heretofore, the IPS would not confirm if there were outbreaks among staff however there have been staff outbreaks at both prisons. There was a small outbreak among prisoners in the Midlands during the second wave.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre delivers weekly outbreak reports on cases in prisons for NPHET and health service. The latest report says a total of 56 people have tested positive. Between 0 and 4 people were hospitalised or admitted to ICU. There was at least one death related to Irish Prisons according to the latest report.

The reports do not publish the exact number if there have between 1 and four cases, hospitalisations or deaths for confidentiality reasons.

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