Pubdate: Tue, 02 Jan 2007
Source: Irish Times, The (Ireland)
Copyright: 2007 The Irish Times


The Irish Prison Service has confirmed it will soon introduce a special 
prison unit for remand prisoners  charged with drug
trafficking offences.

Under the plan, certain prisoners who are facing  charges of
possession of drugs with intent to supply  will be kept separate from
other inmates in a special  unit so as to make it more difficult for
them to  continue their businesses while in jail.

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell has approved the  move as part
of a number of new measures that aim to  combat drug trafficking in

Speaking to, Sean Sullivan, a spokesperson  for the Irish
Prison Service, said that it was  finalising operational details.

"It is the will of the Taniste that the isolation unit  be introduced,
and we are working to have it up and  running as soon as possible,"
said Mr Sullivan.

The first unit, which will be based at Cloverhill  prison in West
Dublin, will hold 20 remand prisoners.

Mr Sullivan said a plan to open similar units in other  prisons,
including Portlaoise, is being considered.

But the new plan has been met with scepticism by  Opposition parties.
Labour spokesman on Justice,  Brendan Howlin said more information

needed to establish whether the initiative would prove  useful in
combating drug trafficking.

"We need to see specifics about what is proposed, how  will this be
implemented, to whom will it apply and how  extensive across the
prison system it is going to be  implemented," he said. 
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