Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Questions (213)

Clare Daly

Question:

213. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of prisoners currently housed in each wing of Mountjoy Prison, Dublin; the number of prisoners in each wing currently housed in single occupancy cells; the number of prisoners in each wing currently housed in cells with one other prisoner; the number of prisoners in each wing currently housed in cells with more than one other prisoner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33908/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by my officials in the Irish Prison Service that on Monday, 8th July, 2013, the number of prisoners currently housed in each wing of Mountjoy Prison was as follows:

Wing

No.

B Division:-

119

C Division:-

92

C - Base:-

11

D Division

211

Medical Unit

53

Separation Unit

62

Wing

Number in Single Occupancy Cells

Number in Double Occupancy Cells

Number housed with more than 1 other

B- Division

119

0

0

C- Division

92

0

0

C-Base

11

0

0

D - Division

33

130

48

Medical Unit

46

0

7

Separation Unit

7

42

13

Total

308

172

68

Once the current refurbishment project has been completed in September 2013, all prisoners in Mountjoy prison will be accommodated in a single cell with a wash hand basin and toilet. As the Deputy can see from the table there are 308 prisoners in Mountjoy accommodated in single cell accommodation, or 56% of the prison's population.

Given the current number of prisoners in custody - 4,203 on 8 July 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 (only 308 in the case of Mountjoy) 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 prison capacity 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.