'Punitive regimes do not work' - Irish Prison chief defends decision to build garden for convicted killer Warren Dumbrell
Published 29/04/2016 | 17:20
The head of the Irish Prison Service has hit back at his own staff over claims that the state is providing a garden for a dangerous criminal.
Earlier today independent.ie revealed how convicted killer Warren Dumbrell is set to be the main prisoner to benefit from a new horticulture area behind bars allegedly costing €41,000.
The inmate, who has a history of violence against prison staff, is currently housed on the segregated C1 landing at the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise.
The move was heavily criticised at the Prison Officer Association (POA) conference in Athlone during the week with senior member Jim Mitchell claiming the regime gives "rewards for violent behaviour".
But now the Director General of the Irish Prison Service (IPS) Michael Donnellan has defended the move claiming "punitive regimes do not work".
In a statement, released this evening to Independent.ie, Mr Donnellan said: "The Service does not have the liberty of selecting which prisoners receive these interventions.
"While it might seem easier in the short term to lock certain prisoners in their cells and provide an authoritarian regime, all prisoners, even life sentence prisoners, will at some stage return to their community and such action only serves to increase the risk that a prison would pose to society.
"The focus of Prison Management and staff is to reduce the number of prisoners isolated and to enhance their rehabilitation to positive engagement.”
Warren Dunbrell (41) was jailed with his brother Jeffrey (35) in February 2011 for the brutal murder of Christopher Cawley at Tyrone Place flats in Inchicore.
In October 2006 Mr Cawley, a father of six, was attacked and fatally stabbed on the stairway of the flat complex where he lived.
Since his jailing Warren Dumbrell has continued to cause problems for staff and is considered a danger to other inmates at the jail.
Mr Donnellan claimed that “a range of enhanced facilities" were provided recently in the Midlands Prison for prisoners who cannot associate with other inmates
He explained that a new horticultural area was built for over 200 sex offenders along with a new lifers area of which there are over 100.
The area where Dumbrell, called C1, is for prisoners who cannot associate with any other inmates. Mr Donnellan claims the costs of the horticulture area in this wing "was less than €30,000”
"There are a small number of prisoners across the estate who do pose a higher level of risk. By engaging with these prisoners constructively and in some cases creatively we actually reduce the risk to our staff and deliver on our vision of a safer community."