Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Questions (564)

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

564. 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 2013; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21377/14]

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 following table. The libraries for Arbour Hill, Dóchas, Mountjoy and the Training Unit are open as the demand requires.

-

Scheduled Opening Hours

(per week)

% hours open

January - December 2013

Arbour Hill

On demand

As required

Castlerea

32

100

Cloverhill

35.5

44

Cork

37.5

83

Dochas

On demand

As required

Limerick

20

50

Loughan House

7

100

Midlands

25

95

Mountjoy

On demand

As required

Portlaoise C Block

77

99

Portlaoise E Block

77

99

Shelton Abbey

11

100

St Patrick’s Institution

Provision of a library service in the old St. Patrick's building is currently under review due to the transfer of 17 to 21 year olds to Wheatfield

N/A

Training Unit

On demand

As required

Wheatfield East Wing

35

100

Wheatfield

16

73

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 is 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. A contract librarian is currently training up prisoners in the Midlands Prison, Training Unit and Castlerea Prison to meet the most pressing needs.