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Question

145. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of prisoners who were identified as having serious mental health issues and the number of these who were diverted to a more appropriate facility in 2015; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12661/16]

Answer

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I can advise the Deputy that the Irish Prison Service does not record data in the format requested on the aggregate number of persons in its custody who are identified as having serious mental health difficulties owing to the requirement that it maintain the confidentiality of the medical records of the persons in its custody.
A Psychiatric In-reach and Court Liaison Service is delivered by the Health Service Executive and the National Forensic Mental Health Services at Cloverhill Prison. The diversion system ensures as far as possible that those people presenting before the courts, or indeed at an earlier stage of the criminal justice system, where the infraction is a reflection of an underlying mental illness, are referred and treated appropriately. This approach has reduced the number of mentally ill people committed to prison. In 2015, the diversion system resulted in 11 admissions to the Central Mental Hospital, and up to 150 persons diverted from custody in prison to other mental health services.