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It's time to 'Isolate' jail gang bosses in Ireland's prisons

It's time to 'Isolate' jail gang bosses in Ireland's prisons

PRISON staff want crime bosses to be isolated in jails to stop the trade in drugs and halt violence behind bars.

Gang leaders “should be properly isolated” in prison to ensure staff and inmate safety, according Prison Officers Association president Stephen Delaney

His call came as he also launched a bitter attack on jail bosses after a series of serious assaults by violent inmates.

Delaney said he is “not convinced” that prison management are “grasping the seriousness of the situation.”

“This has been one of the most difficult and challenging years in my experience,” he said, after six stabbings in six weeks.

He accused the top-level management of not listening to the serious complaints and concerns raised by prison staff in Ireland.

Delaney said one prisoner who had 150 incidents of attacks on prison staff was allowed "cake and minerals to be given to him for his birthday."

"In my time this is the most damning indictment of the IPS mindset," he added.

In the most high-profile incident two staff members were stabbed when violent armed robber Derek Brockwell escaped during a hospital visit.

Since then there have been incidents at Mountjoy and the Midlands prisons which left staff in need of hospital treatment.

In one incident two officers suffered serious head and face injuries. “They will have to live with that for the rest of their lives,” he added.

The POA conference was also addressed by Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald who paid tribute to officers injured in the line of duty.

“No act of violence is acceptable,” she said, but warned that there is “no one-off easy solution.”

Referring to Derek Brockwell incident the Minister said that a review of hospital escorts and prisoner profiling is on-going and new body armour is already being supplied.

But Delaney added that the new vests are not adequate.

 “It amounts to 11 per institution, one-size does not fit all - it is not enough,” he said.