As the Irish Prison Service (IPS) opens its doors once again to visitors, there is a “new” normal that visitors will have to get used to.
Since a ban on physical visits was imposed in March, IPS prisons have not only been free of Covid-19 but have shown a severely decreased volume of drugs being smuggled into prisons.
Visits began again 20th July 2020, but with new stricter conditions.
Director-General of the Irish Prison Service (IPS), Caron McCaffrey, introduced the new Family Information Booklet by saying; “ We have experienced the challenges of adhering to the Government restrictions and public health advice over this time. I appreciate that the challenges can appear all the greater when you have a relative or friend in prison. Not only must you face these challenges alone possibly, but it is also understandable that you will worry for their health and safety while they are in our custody. So far we have managed to keep the virus away from all those in custody.”
- Prisoners will be entitled to receive one 15-minute physical visit per fortnight
- Physical visits during this phase will be limited to one adult person (over 18 years of age).
- In order to prevent the potential spread of infection, all visits will be behind clear screens and visitors will be required to wear a face mask at all times.
- No physical contact between prisoners and family members will be permitted.
- Drug-swabbing machines will be present, swabbing for drug residues and all visitors will be tested before they may enter the visiting room.
- Prison issued face masks must be worn at all times.