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What is the Loughan House?

By C. Webb
Updated May 16, 2024
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The Loughan House is a prison located in Blacklion, County Cavan, Ireland. It houses male and female inmates and is considered an open detention center due to its lack of strict confinement. Its operation is overseen by the Irish Prison Service.

Constructed in 1953 to serve as a novitiate for a missionary congregation, Loughan House was purchased by the government in 1972 to house prison inmates. Initially, inmates were limited to male juveniles between 16 and 21 years old. In October 1978, it became a detention center for boys 12 to 16 years old, and in 1983 was changed to a prison accommodating adult male offenders 18 and older.

The prison operates under the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. Decisions about the daily operation of the prison are made by a director general who is assisted by seven directors. An interim board guides the directors.

The mission of Loughan House mirrors the nation's overall prison mission to safely and humanely house inmates. In addition, the system works to support prisoner goals of returning to law-abiding lives. Loughan House is a minimally secured facility, designed as an open center in which the inmates are expected to make proper decisions and fulfill their sentences without creating disturbances.

The inmates at Loughan House have shared or single rooms, each with a television installed. The grounds include volleyball courts and a gymnasium. Programs at Loughan House are designed to promote alcohol-free and drug-free living as well as prepare inmates for life outside by teaching them job skills. Substance abuse therapy, computer classes, and psychiatric care are among the programs offered.

The prison's health center has a doctor on call 24 hours a day. Dental services are also available, along with mental health services such as group and individual therapy. Various workshops aimed at job skills and personal social skills are offered and attended on a volunteer basis.

Visiting is allowed at Loughan House. Visitors should check beforehand for visiting hours. Inmates are allowed to have personal items brought to them by visitors, once the items undergo a security inspection for contraband, drugs, or alcohol.

Selected prisoners may also be allowed to go home for holiday visits. In 2010, several Loughan House inmates were released long enough to go home for Christmas and Easter. The home pass can range in time from a few hours to seven days and nights. Inmates who do not return to the prison at the appointed time are arrested and can be denied future home passes.

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