Written Answers. - Prison Visiting Committees.

Paul McGrath

Question:

304 Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the total cost of each prison visiting committee for 2002; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3837/03]

As I have previously explained to the House, a visiting committee is appointed to each prison under the Prisons (Visiting Committees) Act 1925 and Prisons (Visiting Committees) Order 1925.

The function of visiting committees is to visit, at frequent intervals, the prison to which they are appointed and hear any complaints which may be made to them by any prisoner. They report to me any abuses observed or found by them in the prison and any repairs they think may be urgently needed. The visiting committee has free access, either collectively or individually, to every part of its prison. In inspecting prisons, the visiting committees focus on issues such as the quality of accommodation and the catering, medical, educational and welfare services and recreational facilities.

Members of visiting committees receive no remuneration. Vouched expenses for travel and subsistence are paid, on the authorisation of the Prison Governor, in line with Civil Service rates.

The following table setting out the total cost of each prison visiting committee for the period requested by the Deputy:

Institution

2002

Arbour Hill Prison

52,268.42

Castlerea Prison

26,996.59

Cloverhill Prison

42,289.70

Cork Prison

50,302.10

Curragh Place of Detention

34,916.75

Fort Mitchell Place of Detention

35,734.74

Limerick Prison

28,609.06

Loughan House Place of Detention

37,504.77

Midlands Prison

31,757.01

Mountjoy Prison

65,892.62

Portlaoise Prison

34,544.26

Shanganagh Castle Place of Detention

40,775.41

Shelton Abbey Place of Detention

20,801.34

St. Patrick's Institution

59,115.39

Training Unit Place of Detention

49,254.48

Wheatfield Prison

45,672.89

Total

656,435.53