497. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the establishment of therapeutic communities in prison settings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13202/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that the prison environment provides a unique opportunity to support individuals in addressing their addiction issues, and it forms an important component in an overall response to drugs addiction issues in Irish society.
The Irish Prison Service is developing a new Irish Prison Service Drugs Strategy which will review measures to prevent drugs getting into prisons and changing patterns of illicit drug use. The Irish Prison Service in conjunction with The Probation Service commissioned a 'Review of Drug and Alcohol Treatment services for Adult Offenders in Prison and in the Community' the recommendations of which will form a key component of the new Drugs Strategy.
The Irish Prison Service continues to hold the establishment of a therapeutic community in a prison setting as one of its objectives and this will be contained in its forthcoming strategy for the period 2019 to 2021. I am informed by the Director General of the Irish Prison Service that it is pursuing a collaborative approach in regard to the funding for the proposed therapeutic community with the Department of Health which is the lead agency in the area of drug treatment.
The development of a therapeutic community will complement the existing drug treatment programmes in the Irish Prison Service.