Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Questions (144)

Finian McGrath


144. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding conditions in Limerick prison (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28665/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed by the Irish Prison Service that as of Monday 30 June 2014, there was a total of 30 women in custody in Limerick Prison. The Deputy will be aware that the primary role of the Irish Prison Service is the provision of safe and secure custody for prisoners. The Deputy will also be aware that the Prison Service must accept all persons committed by the courts into custody and does not have the option of refusing committals. A business case for the modernisation of prison facilities in Limerick Prison is currently being drafted by the Irish Prison Service. Part of the proposed redevelopment includes the provision of high quality prison accommodation for female prisoners with capacity for approximately 50 individual cells and 8 custodial apartments.

The Irish Prison Service provides to those in custody a wide range of rehabilitative programmes, which have the dual purpose of providing prisoners with purposeful activity while serving their sentences and encouraging them to lead non-offending lives on release.

The development of prisoner programmes forms a central part of the Irish Prison Service three year strategic plan 2012 - 2015. There is a clear commitment in the strategy to enhance sentence planning through Integrated Sentence Management and the delivery of prison based rehabilitative programmes such as education, work training and resettlement programmes.

On 6 March 2014 the IPS published a Women’s Strategy entitled "An Effective Response to Women Who Offend". The Women’s Strategy sets out how the Irish Prison Service and the Probation Service will work together, as well as with other statutory, community and voluntary sector partners, to provide women-focused interventions to help reduce offending, improve opportunities for reintegration and to improve outcomes more generally. This co-operative approach is a direct result of the Joint Strategy published last year which aims to deliver more effective offender management.