Thursday, 12 December 2019

Questions (117, 118)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

117. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to collect and disseminate national statistics on the socio-economic backgrounds of the prison population; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52414/19]

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Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

118. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the data already collected and collated on the prison population including socio-economic backgrounds, levels of educational attainment, history of contact with other State services and so on; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52415/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 117 and 118 together.

I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that it has no plans to disseminate, as a matter of routine, information beyond that already included in the Irish Prison Service Annual Report or available on its website such as age, sentence length, gender, offence group, address given by county and nationality groupings.

However I can inform the Deputy that the Irish Prison Service has confirmed that a comprehensive interview takes place at committal stage for all prisoners entering prison. Included in the information gathered at this interview are personal details such as name, date of birth, address, gender, ethnic identifier, marital status, nationality, ethnic origin, next of kin and family details. The information does not include socio-economic backgrounds or history of contact with other state services.

I can further advise the Deputy that the Irish Prison Service has confirmed that data relating to literacy and language competence is collected on committal to prison. People in custody who wish to attend classes provided by the Education and Training Boards in the Prison Education Centres are interviewed to ascertain their educational attainment, qualifications, training, employment history and education needs. This information is stored on a purpose built Prison Education Management System (PEMS). This system is also used to record their subjects, timetable, class attendances and any qualifications or certificates awarded while in custody. I am informed that the Irish Prison Service has not collated or published any data collected on PEMS and that there is no socio-economic data collected on PEMS.