Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Questions (560)

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

560. Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the numbers of prisoners in total and in each institution that are 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 a normal flush toilet installed or have access at all times to normal toilet facilities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21370/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that the Government committed, in the Programme for Government, to the ending of slopping out in the prison system. I can advise the Deputy that the number of prisoners slopping out in the prison system has reduced from 1,003 at the end of 2010 to the current level of 334 (on 1 April 2014), a reduction of 67%. Of the 334 currently slopping out, 226 prisoners are accommodated in Cork Prison with 46 and 59 prisoners accommodated in Limerick and Portlaoise Prisons respectively.

In April 2012, the Irish Prison Service published a 3-Year Strategic Plan which included a 40 month capital plan to provide in-cell sanitation in all cells and radically improve prison conditions in the older parts of the prison estate. The construction of a new prison in Cork, to replace the existing outdated facility, commenced in late January 2014, and is expected to be completed by July of 2015. Allowing for fit-out, systems commissioning and training of staff, it is expected that the new prison will be ready for operational use by December 2015. This project marks the largest single investment ever in the prison estate and in these times of continuing financial difficulty it represents a very important commitment on the part of Government to the modernisation of the prison estate and in particular to the elimination of slopping out.

In addition to the substantial commitment to Cork prison, the modernisation of Mountjoy prison continues with the refurbishment of the A, B and C wings now complete. The D wing has been closed to facilitate the final stage of refurbishment and as a result the practice of slopping out is consigned to history in Mountjoy prison. Every prisoner in Mountjoy now has access to in-cell sanitation. A contract for the refurbishment work on the D wing will be signed shortly and the works will be completed by March 2015. Similarly, a Development Plan for Limerick Prison is at an advanced stage and is due for completion by the end of July with a view to the commencement of the development works there on a phased basis starting in late 2015. The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table.

Prison

Number in Custody 01 Apr 2014

No in-cell slopping out

Toilet in other presence

24 Access to toilet facilities in private

Arbour Hill

144

0

52

92

Cloverhill

443

0

391

52

Cork

234

226

0

8

Castlerea

357

0

230

127

Limerick

264

49

126

89

Loughan

129

0

0

129

Midlands

850

0

507

343

Mountjoy (M)

587

0

44

543

Mountjoy (F)

134

0

0

134

Portlaoise

251

59

71

121

St Patrick's

6

0

0

6

Shelton Abbey

110

0

0

110

Training Unit

93

0

0

93

Wheatfield

501

0

216

285

Total

4103

334

1637

2132