Thursday, 30 May 2013

Questions (197)

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

197. Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Equality 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]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

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 This new prison will have a capacity of 275 and will replace the existing outdated prison with modern cellular accommodation containing in-cell sanitation and showering facilities supported by a full range of ancillary services.

The construction of a new wing at Limerick Prison, to replace the outdated A and B Wings, also forms part of the 40 month capital plan and the tender process for this project is expected to commence in June.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