342. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he is considering piloting the concept of a therapeutic community in the prison system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30869/19]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Irish Prison Service has advised me that the prison environment provides a unique opportunity to support individuals in managing their addiction to drugs and alcohol and to provide rehabilitation.
The Irish Prison Service is currently developing a new Drugs Strategy which is reviewing measures to prevent drugs getting into prisons and changing patterns of illicit drug use. The Irish Prison Service in conjunction with The Probation Service commissioned a 'Review of Drug and Alcohol Treatment services for Adult Offenders in Prison and in the Community' the recommendations of which will form a key component of the new Drugs Strategy.
The development of a Therapeutic Community will remain a key element of the Irish Prison Service Strategic Plan 2019 – 2022. The Irish Prison Service considers this initiative as one of primary importance in addressing addiction in the prison population. It would represent a positive addition to collaboration which exists between the Irish Prison Service and the Health Service Executive in addressing addiction.
However, the development of a Therapeutic Community on a pilot basis requires the availability of sufficient resources. The Irish Prison Service has sought the agreement of the Department of Health to jointly seek funding as part of the upcoming 2020 estimates process.