Specialist health clinics should be reinstated immediately at Magilligan prison and more secure medication boxes should be provided to prevent drug abuse, which continues to be a particularly serious problem in the jail.
These are the findings of a new independent inspection report, which also urged that prison management should ensure a Carol Service is held at Christmas this year.
The Independent Monitoring Board’s (IMB) Annual Report for 2012/13, says: “The use and abuse of prescription medication continues to be a particularly serious issue in Magilligan.
“Whilst the concept of dispensing medication in prison to mirror the practice in the community, bulk issue of medication continues to raise significant problems.”
The inspectors report that medication is used as currency in the jail and that although the IMB recommended stronger medication boxes last year this still hasn’t happened.
The IMB recommends the installation of more secure boxes and says greater efforts should be made to move towards a drug-free prison. In relation to health care the report says specialist clinics should be reinstated immediately.
The report states: “As well as the routine services that would be provided in an outside healthcare clinic, Magilligan also provides additional services such as the management of chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension and the promotion of well man assessments amongst others.
“Owing to staff shortages unfortunately these clinics have not been held on a consistent basis. It is recommended that these clinics be re-established as soon as possible and the continuity of provision improved.”
The report also recommends that a purpose built safe and secure facility should be set up for prisoners with severe personality disorders.
The Board pointed out that neurotic personality disorders within prison are three times greater than that of the general population.
“The Board remains of the opinion that prison is not a suitable environment for prisoners with severe mental health issues and continues to recommends that there
should be a secure unit/hospital outside of prison for the treatment of such prisoners.”
The report points out that although this is a recurring recommendation nothing’s been done.