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Senator Black calls for extra supports for women in prison who are in recovery from addiction

I have worked in Dóchas Prison and with women who have been in recovery from addiction. I hear what the witnesses are saying and I have a couple of questions, but first I will tell them why I am asking them. I worked with a family that was devastated by their son's addiction. He was a lovely young lad, except that, when he was in his addiction, he would act recklessly and was in and out of prison. He came to them one day when he knew he had a sentencing hearing. At last he came and said, "Look, if there is any chance that I can get into treatment, I really want to do it". If he could choose, he would go into treatment rather than prison. Unfortunately, the family found it very difficult to get him into treatment because there was nowhere available for him. It was a real struggle. Then they decided to ring the Joe Duffy show. It was only then, having gone to the media, that he got into treatment. I will be going to his graduation. He will be a year clean and sober this month, which is fantastic and a perfect example of what recovery can do. He is now in a relationship and is leading a really good life and his family are in a great place.

What evidence or reports are available on people who have stepped into recovery and stopped going in and out of prison and not re-offending? Is there any evidence or reports on the cost associated with it? It would have cost the prison service €70,000 if the lad had gone to jail for the year but treatment probably cost less than half of that sum. Is there any evidence on that matter?

Why have the recommendations in the last report not been implemented?

I apologise if it was addressed earlier, but I have one other question. Why has Ireland not yet ratified the optional protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and to what extent, if any, has torture been found to have been used in Irish prisons?

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