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Fewer drugs get to inmates as prison visits curtailed

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A ‘throwover’ at Wheatfield

A ‘throwover’ at Wheatfield

A ‘throwover’ at Wheatfield

The lack of physical visits to prevent Covid-19 entering the prison system has resulted in a sharp drop in the quantity of drugs getting into our jails.

Despite rigorous scanning and searches of prison visitors, drugs were still finding their way into jails via family members and associates before the coronavirus hit.

The Irish Prison Service implemented a video visiting system last month to help keep Covid-19 out of jails, leading to a noticeable increase in people trying to throw contraband over the walls of prisons.

Nets

These "throwovers" tend to be unsuccessful because the material is caught on nets over prison yards and confiscated before getting to inmates.

The Irish Prison Service said the drop in the quantity of drugs in prisons had resulted in fewer instances of erratic behaviour among certain inmates.

"Stopping the physical visits has also meant that pressure on visitors to bring drugs into the jails has also ceased," it added.

Meanwhile, a new system whereby families of prisoners can send money to their jailed relative from an An Post office has been announced.

Under normal circumstances a relative can give money to a prisoner during a visit so they can buy items like toiletries, cigarettes, newspapers and sweets from the prison tuck shop.

But with visits now stopped, the Department of Justice and the Irish Prison Service had to think of an alternative.

The service allows a prisoner's family to pay money at the counter in any one of An Post's 950 post offices for the benefit of their relative in prison who can then spend the money.

The service is private and confidential, the destination of the transaction being masked.