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Woman (23) becomes first positive Covid-19 case in Irish prison system

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Mountjoy Prison's 'C Wing'.

Mountjoy Prison's 'C Wing'.

Mountjoy Prison's 'C Wing'.

A 23-YEAR-OLD female inmate has become the first prisoner in the Irish prison system to be diagnosed with coronavirus.

The positive test was confirmed yesterday at the Dóchas Centre for women in Dublin.

The homeless woman was remanded in custody earlier this week by a district court judge in relation to an offence of threatening and abusive behaviour.

Like all prisoners who come into our jail system, she was required to self isolate for 14 days and was tested for the deadly virus.

"The remand prisoner had disclosed that she had symptoms of the virus in the week before she was locked up," a jail insider told the Herald.

"However, when she presented in prison she was asymptomatic but was still put in mandatory quarantine and yesterday the test results came back as positive," the source explained.

The inmate was understood to be in "good and healthy spirits" last night and there were no concerns about her infecting other prisoners due to the robust operation by the Irish Prison Service to tackle the pandemic in our jail system.

Offences

"This highly unfortunate young homeless woman has been in and out of the Dóchas Centre for years.

"In the middle of a pandemic is it right that the courts are putting her in prison for such minor offences?" a jail source told the Herald.

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"The feeling among many staff in the centre is that this young lady needs psychiatric help rather than incarceration but the courts have sent her in and she has tested positive.

"She remains in quarantine and there is no threat to the wider population and she is also receiving specialist care for her particular needs," the source added.

Sources say it is "truly amazing" that it has taken until now to have a Covid-19 case in our prison population.


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