412. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons in prison for each of the years, 2010 to 2015; the number who have been identified as having from mental health problems; and if she will make a statement on he matter. [34627/15]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I wish to advise the Deputy that the following table shows the number of persons in custody in the Irish Prison Service for the period 2010 to 2015. These figures are based on the daily average in custody in each particular year.

Year Daily Average
2015 (to 5th October) 3,719
2014 3,915
2013 4,158
2012 4,318
2011 4,390
2010 4,290
The Irish Prison Service ensures the delivery of appropriate healthcare services to persons in custody by way of the primary healthcare model. It is the policy of the Irish Prison Service that all prisoners are provided with an equivalent level of healthcare as is available to those entitled to General Medical Scheme services in the community. This service is provided by using multi-disciplinary and intra-disciplinary working processes.
All prisoners are medically assessed on committal to prison and treated as required. This includes a mental health assessment which can be employed to develop an individual care plan. Following a clinical assessment, where clinically indicated, the person is referred to a forensic clinician and professional Inreach healthcare services are provided for a range of healthcare needs. When required, a doctor or other healthcare professional operating in the prison environment, can treat or make a referral to other Inreach healthcare services or to external services
Inreach mental health services are available in the Dublin, Portlaoise and Castlerea prisons through collaboration with the HSE/National Forensic Mental Health Service to provide forensic mental health sessions weekly in these prisons. The Irish Prison Service, in partnership and collaboration with the HSE, provides Specialist Inreach, Consultant-led Psychiatric services to those in custody in the remaining closed prisons. The National Forensic Mental Health Service also provides an assessment and liaison service for all other prisons where a prisoner requires a forensic assessment or access to an admission bed in the Central Mental Hospital.
The Irish Prison Service has access to a limited number of beds in the Central Mental Hospital for prisoners who require residential mental health treatment. The availability of additional beds at the Central Mental Hospital in 2009 has been of considerable assistance to prison management and healthcare staff in tackling waiting lists for prisoners who require admission to the Central Mental Hospital and in providing appropriate mental healthcare to treat acutely mentally ill prisoners. I have been advised by the Irish Prison Service that it does not collate the information requested by the Deputy regarding the number that have been identified as suffering from mental health problems.