asked the Minister for Justice his proposals in relation to the present prison system; when he hopes to introduce reform; if he will comment on conditions in Mountjoy prison; and what he now proposes to do about the matter.
Written Answers. - Prison System.
In relation to the prison system generally the Deputy will recall that the committee of inquiry into the penal system reported last year. The report of the committee is still under consideration. Conditions at Mountjoy prison are, I am satisfied, being steadily improved. In the recent past, improvements have been made in the sanitary arrangements, work-training, reception and visiting facilities and in the area of medical services. Further improvements are planned. I must point out, however, that the pressure on available accommodation for prisoners continues and until building of the new place of detention at Wheatfield, Clondalkin is completed towards the end of next year, the difficulties caused by pressures on accommodation will persist.
asked the Minister for Justice the number of members of the defence forces on duty at Portlaoise prison; the number of members of the Garda who are on daily duty in or about the prison; the number of prisoners at present in the jail; and the total capacity of the prison by way of all accommodation.
There are at present 197 prisoners accommodated in Portlaoise prison. The prison can, at present, accommodate 230. Over the next few weeks that number will be increased by about 30.
It would be contrary to established practice regarding security at the prison to disclose the stength of the Army and Garda forces on daily duty in and around the prison.