IPS Encourage Families Not To Smuggle Drugs Into Prisons As Physical Visits Finally Resume.

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.
  • 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.
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.”

Along with details on changes to visitation rights, there is a stark warning to families,
“Drug overdose is now the main threat facing your loved ones in prison. We need your help to keep them safe. During the past few weeks, your loved one may have stopped using or reduced their drug use. As a result, they will have lower tolerance levels.
There is a huge risk of them overdosing if they start using again.”Ways you can help save their life:

  • The best thing to consider is saying no!
    Help him/her by saying no.
    Make an excuse, do what you have to do before it’s too late.
  • Encourage them to seek help.
    There is support available in all prisons for people struggling with
    addiction. Encourage them to avail of this support.
  • Don’t risk being arrested or imprisoned yourself.
    There are searches and sniffer dogs at all prison entrances.
    Think of your family and how this may impact them if you are caught.We realise this is a difficult time for you and your family. We know that sometimes you may feel under pressure to bring drugs into prison.
    The risk is too great.
    It can be fatal.
    Do the right thing for them, for you and for your family.

Irish Prison Service
Family Information Booklet
Video – The Return of Physical Visits to Irish Prisons