Mountjoy finally gets a proper Governor

LeDroit

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The new Governor of Mountjoy has rung the changes since taking over recently. After decades of indecision and weakness which saw mass drug smuggling, the previous Governor John Lonergan retired. He had been a hero of the PC brigade. A so called compassionate 'realist' who paid lip service to drug control within the prison while his tenure became synonymous with mass drug and contraband smuggling (mobile phones etc).

The impression was given over the last twenty years that nothing could be done about this situation. The State simply had to accept that drugs would get in, prisoners would stay or become junkies and return to society desperate for drugs and therefore ready to commit crime. However, in a few short months the new Governor Ned Whelan has put his predecessor to shame. He has introduced new screening procedures including more effective use of drugs dogs, more cell searches and most importantly spent €250k on a yard net to prevent contraband being thrown over the wall. This has decimated the drug supply within the prison. A quarter of inmates are now on the drug treatment programme making it the largest methadone clinic in the country while disorder within the prison has declined markedly.

Hopefully, we will now see drug free or drug controlled prisoners released from Mountjoy in future.

Many, many congratulations to Gov. Whelan. We need more men like him.

http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0823/mountjoy.html
 


Tomas Mor

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+100. New man is a doer, whereas Lonergan would run to the media trying to get to the root of why people would do things like that.
 

asset test

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Mr. Lonergan also had some soft words to say about Larry Murphy.

He always struck me as someone who was a softie. Criminals in Mountjoy are not softies. They are hard men. Admittedly many are on drugs, but Lonergan did nothing about that aspect. Instead he played to the media about the dignity of prisoners, and treating them like humans. Fine. But that didn't solve anything, instead it probably exacerbated the problems within that prison. Real drugs were available so there was always a queue for them, and those who could pay could get them, or those close to the suppliers etc. etc. Meant a difficult atmosphere I would say.

Now Ned Whelan has, at one fell swoop stopped (in as far as is possible) the supply of street drugs into the prison. So no more Mr. Nice Guy in there then. Maybe it means the prisoners who could at one stage "supply" and thus command respect or be powerful, are relegated to inferior status inside now. Hmmm, egalitarian status all round??

Look it was a no brainer to get a net over that yard. Apparently the residents nearby were plagued with suppliers climbing on to their roofs to get the stuff into the yard, Nothing about their quality of life Mr. Lonergan.

I salute Ned Whelan. I hope this is not just window dressing, and that the internal controls go on. It is interesting that the consensus is that the prison is a much calmer place now. Presumably because those inside with drug supply contacts cannot now deliver and have lost status. Methadone maintenance is the solution now. It may not be perfect, but surely better than a criminal supply line.
 

orbit

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while disorder within the prison has declined markedly.
I heard that on the news, and was gobsmacked.

I'd caution against holding this guy up as some hero, before he's a wet weekend in the job. But if true, that brings into question a lot of the assumptions that people used to make about drugs in prison. It's very encouraging though.
 
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And when the place goes up in flames?
 

Keith-M

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I can't believe that only now they are introducing a zero tolerance policy on drugs, mobile phones etc.

WTF were they doing in the past?
 

Cato

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LeDroit

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I can't believe that only now they are introducing a zero tolerance policy on drugs, mobile phones etc.

WTF were they doing in the past?
Pandering to people who society owed a favour to. :rolleyes:
 

LeDroit

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Aristodemus

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Lonergan was the "Mr Barraclough of Slade Prison" when what was needed was "Mr Mackay"
 

davehiggz

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I can't believe that only now they are introducing a zero tolerance policy on drugs, mobile phones etc.

WTF were they doing in the past?
Because everyone thought criminals were "poor" and "vulnerable" people who somehow need our support and care, forgetting that most are ruthless criminals. It's the PC/liberal attitude to almost every issue in Ireland.
 

eoghanacht

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And when the place goes up in flames?
Best not point out things like that, the right wing authoritarians here will have kniptions if you were to try and link disorder in prisons and drug use.

They'll be the very ones calling for heads when more and more prison officers are getting attacked whilst the new Governer sits in his office away from all the violence.
 

McDave

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We'll see if the new guy can maintain the disciplinary approach. Lonergan seemed to be rather on the sympathetic side. I suppose you have to try various policy options. The problem with the Irish prison system is a lack of capacity and a significant proportion of poor facilities. Running a place like Mountjoy must be like herding cats.

Still I wish the new guy well. The situation with drugs and especially mobiles was quite an indictment of the ineffectual nature of our criminal justice system. If the coercive aspect doesn't run effectively, the other strings (e.g. rehabilitation) cannot perform their function effectively either.
 

LeDroit

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Best not point out things like that, the right wing authoritarians here will have kniptions if you were to try and link disorder in prisons and drug use.

They'll be the very ones calling for heads when more and more prison officers are getting attacked whilst the new Governer sits in his office away from all the violence.
And once again for the slow learners amongst us, disorder and violence have FALLEN.
 

firefly123

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Had a family member work there as a PO and he said it was hell. He and all the staff hated the Governer. Typical bleeding heart "if only they had facilities and amenities" type of fool who refuses to see that by the time they get to the joy they are a lost cause. Best time to stop a criminal is when he is in a pram being pushed around by his junkie mother. Take them and put them with genuine citizens not parasites.
 

eoghanacht

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And once again for the slow learners amongst us, disorder and violence have FALLEN.
Can't you engage yourself without childish namecalling, tut tut.

Time will tell, won't it?
 


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