Thursday, 30 May 2013

Questions (201)

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

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

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

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.