Header Item Written Answers Nos. 194-204
 Header Item Anti-Social Behaviour
 Header Item Anti-Racism Measures
 Header Item Prisoner Numbers
 Header Item Prison Accommodation
 Header Item Prison Regulations
 Header Item Prisoner Numbers
 Header Item Prison Education Service
 Header Item Prisoner Rehabilitation Programmes
 Header Item Prison Education Service
 Header Item Prison Education Service
 Header Item Prisoner Numbers

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 805 No. 3
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 82 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 194-204

Anti-Social Behaviour

 194. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter his views on anti-social behaviour in an area (details supplied) in Dublin 3. [26302/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in relation to the matter referred to by the Deputy. I will contact the Deputy directly as soon as the report is to hand.

Anti-Racism Measures

 195. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding an incident of racism. [26314/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I sympathise with the person who has written to the Deputy about the problem of racism which she has encountered and I fully share her view on the need to use every effort to combat this.   Racism such as is evidenced here is completely unacceptable and a source of serious concern to me. In my Presidency capacity at EU level during the first six months of this year, I very specifically raised this issue with my EU Ministerial colleagues with a view to establishing a mechanism to better support protection of fundamental rights and the Rule of Law in Member States by sharing best practice, monitoring standards and formulating appropriate recommendations and guidelines for action across the Union as an effective response to this problem.

  The Programme for Government contains a commitment that we will promote policies which integrate minority ethnic groups in Ireland, and which promote social inclusion, equality, diversity and the participation of immigrants in the economic, social, political and cultural life of their communities. A significant level of activity is taking place in pursuit of this commitment.

A number of key departments and agencies have developed specific strategies to ensure that their services respond to Ireland’s changed demographic in an interculturally competent and inclusive manner. The strategies developed include: an Intercultural Health Strategy; an Intercultural Education Strategy; a Cultural and Arts Policy and Strategy; the Garda Síochána Diversity Strategy; and an Action Strategy for Integrated Workplaces.

  The Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration has responsibility for leading and coordinating work relating to the integration of legally resident immigrants. The Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration continues to work with many sectors including An Garda Síochána, local authorities, sporting bodies, Government Departments, the social partners and broader civil society including cultural and ethnic minorities, to further progress the integration and diversity management agenda.

  Funding has been provided to a number of local authorities around the country and local programmes have been undertaken to educate the public on issues such as immigration, integration and anti-racism. For example, Dublin City Council ran an anti-racism campaign on the Dublin transport system in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 using funding provided by the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration. Dublin City Council also support a number of festivals supporting diversity such as the Chinese New Year and the Indian Diwali 'festival of lights'.

  The Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration also provided support to an NGO called Show Racism the Red Card to run a creative competition for school children in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Funding was also provided to the Holocaust Educational Trust for educational initiatives that teach children the dangers of racism and the importance of integration and tolerance. Further details of the work done by this Office in the area of managing diversity and combatting racism including details of the funding granted to promote integration between the established and immigrant communities is available at www.integration.ie.

  The Garda Racial, Intercultural and Diversity Office is also constantly working through community engagement to urge people to come forward and report any suspected racist crime to their local Gardaí. It advises the public about the existence of Ethnic Liaison Officers and also of the services available to victims of hate crime at the Garda Racial Intercultural and Diversity Office. The services of Ethnic Liaison Officers are advertised on the Garda website and appointed officers are named with details of their station.

  The Deputy's correspondent may also wish to consult the links on the website at http://www.integration.ie/ where she will note the many non-governmental organisations active in this field. She might also consider bringing her concerns and ideas to the attention of one or more of such bodies.

Prisoner Numbers

 196. Deputy Ciarán Lynch Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of persons in prison; the number in each institution; the total number of prisoners not held in single cells or rooms; the number of these in each institution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26320/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The average number of prisoners in custody in Ireland has risen in the last 5 years, from 3,321 during 2007 to 4,318 during 2012, an increase of over 30%. Likewise the total number of committals to prison has also risen sharply during the same period, from 11,934 in 2007 to 17,026 in 2012 – an increase of over 43%.

  Given the current number of prisoners in custody - 4,254 on 28 May 2013 - the Irish Prison Service is not in a position to provide single cell accommodation to all prisoners. Single cell occupancy across the system would result in a bed capacity of less than 3,000 and would not be possible to achieve without releasing sizeable numbers of prisoners considered to represent a threat to public safety.

  In addition it should be borne in mind that in some cases prisoners are housed together for reasons other than lack of capacity. Family members, friends and co-accused prisoners often elect or are assigned a shared cell. Shared cell accommodation can be very beneficial from a management point of view particularly for those who are vulnerable and at risk of self-harm. There will always be a need for certain prisoners to be accommodated together.

  As outlined in the Irish Prison Service Three Year Strategic Plan, it is intended to align the capacity of our prisons with the guidelines laid down by the Inspector of Prisons by 2014, in so far as this is compatible with public safety and the integrity of the criminal justice system. In 2012 and in the first quarter of this year, priority was be given to reducing the chronic overcrowding in Mountjoy, Cork, Limerick Prisons and the Dóchas Centre.

  The information requested by the Deputy is set out on the table below and is reflective of the information available on 28 May 2013.

Institution
In custody
 Single cells/rooms
Prisoners not in single cells/rooms
Arbour Hill
143
84
59
Castlerea
349
144
205
Cloverhill
419
51
368
Cork
225
42
183
Dochas
140
68
72
Limerick
237
78
159
Loughan
135
82
53
Midlands
746
324
422
Mountjoy (Male)
528
324
204
Portlaoise
258
178
80
Shelton
110
37
73
St Patricks Institution
155
155
n/a
Training Unit
112
80
32
Wheatfield
697
211
486
Total
4254
1858
2396

Prison Accommodation

 197. Deputy Ciarán Lynch Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of prisoners in total and in each institution that are at present in custody; the number required to slop out; the number required to use normal toilet facilities in the presence of others; the number that are sole occupants of a cell that has normal flush toilet installed or have access at all times to normal toilet facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26321/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I wish to assure the Deputy that the Government is committed to the elimination of slopping out in all prisons and places of detention. As you are aware I published the Irish Prison Service Three Year Strategic Plan in April 2012. The Plan includes a 40 month capital plan to provide in-cell sanitation in all cells and radically improve prison conditions in the older part of the prison estate.

  I am pleased to note that the number of prisoners currently slopping out has decreased by over 32% in the past 12 months from 836 to 565 and will reduce further to 360 in September this year when the D Division in Mountjoy closes for refurbishment.

  This refurbishment project, which forms part of the 40 month Capital Plan, includes the installation of in-cell sanitation to all cells in Mountjoy Prison. You will be aware that the C and B wings were completed in 2012 and work on the A wing is due for completion in September this year. As I have said, slopping out will finally end in Mountjoy Prison, later this year, when work on the final wing, the D wing, commences.

  In addition, construction of a new prison in Cork, on the site of the current car park and adjacent green-field site will also commence this year. This new prison will have a capacity of 275 and will replace the existing outdated prison with modern cellular accommodation containing in-cell sanitation and showering facilities supported by a full range of ancillary services.

  The construction of a new wing at Limerick Prison, to replace the outdated A and B Wings, also forms part of the 40 month capital plan and the tender process for this project is expected to commence in June.

  You will be aware that a new accommodation block for in the Midlands Prison was opened in December 2012. The opening of this new accommodation block has allowed the Prison Service to reduce the capacity of both Cork and Limerick Prisons resulting in the closure of the antiquated B wing of Limerick Prison.

  In May 2013, approximately 86% or 3,668 of the prisoners in custody across the prison system had access to in-cell sanitation or had access to normal toilet facilities at all times. A detailed breakdown is set out in the following table.

  The following table refers to the information requested as at 28th May, 2013

Institution No. in Custody

 
No. of prisoners who

are required to

slop-out
No. of prisoners who are required to use normal toilet facilities in the presence of others

 
No. of prisoners that are sole occupants of a cell with normal flush toilet installed or have access at all times to normal toilet facilities
Arbour Hill 143 Nil 59 84
Castlerea 349 Nil 203 146
Cloverhill 419 Nil 364 55
Cork 225 222 Nil 3
Dochas* 140 Nil Nil 59        
Limerick 237 46 100 91
Loughan 135 Nil 75 60
Midlands 746 Nil 399 347
Mountjoy (Male)** 528 193 68 260
Portlaoise 258 58 49 151
Shelton 110 Nil Nil 110
St Patrick's Institution 155 Nil Nil 155
Training Unit 112 16 Nil 96
Wheatfield 697 Nil 542 155
Total 4254 535 1,859 1,772
*Difference relates to those in shard cells with access to toilet facilities. (-81)

**Difference relates to 7 prisoners sharing two cells with a private toilet in each cell. (-7)

  Total difference in figures = 88

Prison Regulations

 198. Deputy Ciarán Lynch Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of prisoners in total and in each institution that are locked up for 23 hours or more in a normal day, for 22 to 23 hours in a normal day, for 20 to 22 hours in a normal day, for 18 to 20 hours in a normal day; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26322/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter It has not been possible, within the timeframe available, to collate the information required by the Deputy. I will contact the Deputy directly when the information is to hand.

Prisoner Numbers

 199. Deputy Ciarán Lynch Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of male and female prisoners under 21 years of age; the number in each of the institutions in which they are held; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26323/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I wish to inform the Deputy that the total number of persons under 21 years of age in prison custody on 27 May, 2013 was 274. This figure is made up of 273 males and 1 female. Their location is set out in the following table.

Establishment Name
Number of prisoners
Castlerea Prison
20
Cloverhill Remand Prison
8
Cork Prison
19
Limerick Prison (Male)
10
Limerick Prison (Female)
1
Loughan House
3
Midlands Prison
21
Mountjoy Prison (Male)
7
Portlaoise Prison
8
Shelton Abbey
2
St Patrick's Institution (17 year olds)
20
St Patrick's Institution
137
The Training Unit
1
Wheatfield Prison
17
Total
274
  As the above figures illustrate, a significant percentage (57%) of prisoners in this age category are detained in St Patrick's Institution which is the State's designated committal institution for males aged 17 to 21 years of age and accommodates both remand and sentenced prisoners. Of the 274 in question 20 were under the age of 18 and were accommodated in a special unit (B Division) of St. Patrick's Institution. The unit has a bed capacity of 44 and is self-contained. This has created an enhanced regime for under -18s, with communal dining.

  The balance of persons in the other institutions are generally located in those places in order to facilitate family visits or to assist in their reintegration back into the community.

Prison Education Service

 200. Deputy Ciarán Lynch Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of workshop and work training posts that are vacant in each prison; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26324/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I can inform the Deputy that the following table shows the existing vacancies for workshop and work training posts in each Prison:

Prison
Vacancies
Arbour Hill
7
Castlerea
8
Cloverhill
3
Cork
6
Dochas
5
Limerick
10
Loughan House
1
Midlands
24
Mountjoy
11
Portlaoise
14
Shelton Abbey
2
St. Patrick's Institution
2
Training Unit
2
Wheatfield
19
  Many of these vacant posts are currently being filled by officers 'acting-up' to the role. Vacancies are in the process of being filled by a combination of redeployment of Clerks under the Croke Park Agreement and a competition for promotion to Work Training Officer will be held in the coming weeks.

  The Irish Prison Service places a strong emphasis on improving prisoners’ employability prospects through work training activities and accredited vocational training courses.

  A wide range of training workshops operate within the institutions e.g. printing, computers, braille, woodwork, metalwork, construction, industrial cleaning, crafts and horticulture. There are over 100 workshops and service activities across the prison estate. In March, the latest month for which statistics are available, an average of over 1,100 prisoners engaged in these vocational training activities and courses each day - just over 26% of the average prison population in that month.

  The Irish Prison Service has also been expanding the number of accredited courses and opportunities available to prisoners in Work Training in recent years. Enhanced partnership arrangements with accrediting bodies such as City and Guilds, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), and the Guild of Launders and Cleaners and the centralising of coordination and quality assurance arrangements have enabled us to extend the number of available courses and activities with certification.

  The Irish Prison Service now has over 100 qualifications available across 20 skill sets. The numbers of prisoners participating in accredited vocational training courses has increased from 314 in 2007 to 1,459 in 2012 and 1,030 prisoners received certificates in the last year.

Prisoner Rehabilitation Programmes

 201. Deputy Ciarán Lynch Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of hours the library in each prison is scheduled to open each week; the percentage of scheduled opening times that these libraries were actually open during 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26325/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The number of hours the library in each prison is scheduled to be open is set out in the table under. The libraries for Arbour Hill, Dóchas, Mountjoy, Shelton, St. Patrick's and the Training Unit are open as the demand requires.

PRISON
Scheduled Opening Hours

 (per week)
% hours open

 January - December 2012
Arbour Hill
On demand
As required
Castlerea
27.5
25 (Est.)
Cloverhill
35.5
38
Cork
31.25
86
Dochas
On demand
As required
Limerick
22
60 (Est.)
Loughan House
7.5
100
Midlands*
39
33.4
Mountjoy
20
46.5
Portlaoise C Block
30
100
Portlaoise E Block
20
100
Shelton Abbey
8
100
St. Patrick's Institution
On demand
As required
Training Unit
On demand
As required
Wheatfield East Wing
35
100
Wheatfield
16
59
 * During 2012 the Librarian position in the Midlands prison was vacant.

  Libraries in prisons are regarded by prison management as key elements in the process of normalisation and rehabilitation for prisoners. Library services in prisons are mainly provided by Local Authority library personnel deployed to prisons. In some cases, libraries are managed by prison officers or prisoners, with professional librarian oversight. While it is the case that a shortfall in staffing numbers on a particular day can impact negatively on service provision, the Irish Prison Service are actively pursuing the option of having all libraries in prisons managed by long-term, suitably trained prisoners, with professional oversight in order to maximise the service.

Prison Education Service

 202. Deputy Ciarán Lynch Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the allocations within the education subhead of the prison Vote to each of the following areas of education in 2013: the education unit in each prison, each public library service involved in prisons, the Open University, the National College of Art and Design, Arts Council projects in prison, the Alternative to Violence Project and post-release educational support for prisoners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26327/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The allocations within the education subhead of the prison vote to each of the following areas of education in 2013 are as follows:

Education Unit in each Prison
2013
Arbour Hill
    23,000
Castlerea
    51,000
Cloverhill
    29,000
Cork
    40,000
Dóchas
    38,000
Limerick
    49,000
Loughan Hse
    31,000
Midlands
    90,000
Mountjoy
    55,000
Portlaoise
    60,000
Shelton Abbey
    28,000
St.Patrick's
    52,000
Training Unit
    21,000
Wheatfield
    80,000
TOTAL
  647,000
  Teacher's salaries are funded by the Department of Education and Skills who currently provide an allocation of 220 whole-time teacher equivalents to the prisons through the VECs.
LIBRARIES  2013
Salaries
Stock
 
(Fixed Cost)
 
Dublin Prison Libraries
                156,824
 
Midlands
Vacancy
 
Portlaoise
Vacancy
 
Castlerea
Vacancy
 
Limerick
Vacancy
 
Shelton
                  10,000
 
Loughan
                    8,158
 
Cork
                         -   
 
TOTALS
                174,982
            48,675
ALL COSTS LIBRARY
 
           223,657
  The Librarian salary costs are fixed as set out in the table, the final allocation in respect of library stock will be available following a review of library service provision in each prison.
-
2013
HOPE Project, Cork
    17,000
Dillons Cross
    10,000
Alternatives to Violence
     7,000
National College of Art & Design
          -   
ARTS Council
    23,000
Open University
  100,000
  Education Units in prisons are involved in the development and implementation of a wide variety of courses catering for the needs and interests of prisoners. While Open University courses represent the higher end of academic achievement in prisons, the majority of courses on offer lead to certification, mainly State examinations or FETAC accreditation.

 The allocation for the Open University is € 100,000, this is a demand led service subject to a uniform application procedure with associated guidelines where prisoners demonstrate by proven academic ability that they can complete a third level course of study.

Prison Education Service

 203. Deputy Ciarán Lynch Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of prisoners actively following a course with the Open University at the present time, in each institution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26328/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Education Unit in each of the prisons offers a broad and flexible programme of education to prisoners, ranging from basic literacy classes to Open University courses. With regard to Open University, there is a uniform application procedure with associated guidelines and prisoners must demonstrate the proven academic ability required to complete a third level course of study, prior to funding being approved.

  Education Units in prisons are involved in the development and implementation of a wide variety of courses catering for the needs and interests of prisoners. While Open University courses represent the higher end of academic achievement in prisons, the majority of courses on offer lead to certification, mainly State examinations or FETAC accreditation.

  The number of prisoners actively following a course with the Open University at the present time, in total and in each institution is set out in the table under.

Open University
2013
Arbour Hill
          12
Castlerea
            6
Cloverhill
          -   
Cork
            1
Dóchas
            3
Limerick
          -   
Loughan Hse
            1
Midlands
          11
Mountjoy
          -   
Portlaoise
            5
Shelton Abbey
            1
St.Patrick's
          -   
Training Unit
            3
Wheatfield
            6
TOTAL
          49

Prisoner Numbers

 204. Deputy Ciarán Lynch Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter his plans, in the interest of transparency, to publish on the Irish Prison Service website the numbers in custody in each institution on a daily basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26330/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I wish to inform the Deputy that with effect from 4 June 2013 the number of prisoners in custody will be published on the prison service website www.irishprisons.ie on a daily basis excluding weekends and bank holidays, numbers for those days will be published the next working day.


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