Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (656)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

656. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice the number of prisoners in each prison throughout the country currently undergoing rehabilitative or educational training; the number of unsuccessful applicants for such courses; the number that were successful in the past 12 months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7146/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that the Irish Prison Service (IPS) provides a wide range of rehabilitative programmes to those in custody including education, vocational training, healthcare, psychiatric, psychological, addiction counselling, welfare and spiritual services. These programmes can offer purposeful activity to those in custody while serving their sentences and encouraging them to lead law abiding lives on release. Programmes are available in all prisons and all prisoners are eligible to engage with the services.

On committal, all prisoners are interviewed by the Governor and are informed of the services available in the prison. Prisoners may be referred to services or they can self-refer at a later date. Where Governors consider, on the information available, that a prisoner needs a particular intervention they will initiate a referral.

The strategic objective to have a multi-agency approach to offender management and rehabilitation from pre to post imprisonment in order to reduce re-offending and improve prisoner outcomes, forms a central part of the Prison and Probation Service Joint Strategic Plan.

The IPS Psychology Service operates an integrated, stepped care service model, working with both mental health and criminogenic risk and need. Currently, prison psychologists are engaging with between 620 - 650 people in custody which includes assessment and-or intervention which can be either group or individual rehabilitative programmes.

Education in prisons is delivered in partnership between the Education Training Boards and the IPS in line with the joint Strategy 2019 - 2021 which sets out a commitment to the provision of a broad and flexible curriculum and includes supporting integration and sentence planning.

The focus is on providing education which is quality assured, student centred and which facilitates lifelong learning. Data on the average weekly attendances in Prison Education Centres in 2020 is set out in Table 1 below. It is important to note that Education Centres were closed due to Covid-19 from March 2020 to August 2020.

The guiding principles of vocational training services are to make, work, work-training and other purposeful activities available to all those in custody. Training activities are designed to give as much variety as possible and also to give opportunities for those in prison to acquire practical skills which will help them secure employment on release. The average prison population engaged in vocational training in 2020 per prison is set out in Table 2.

The IPS has also been expanding the number of accredited courses and opportunities available to prisoners in Work Training in recent years. Enhanced partnership arrangements with accrediting bodies along with the centralising of coordination and quality assurance arrangements have enabled the prison service to extend the number of available courses and activities with certification to people in custody. Unfortunately, the manner in which records are collated does not allow the provision of statistics on those who were successful or unsuccessful applicants for such training.

Education Unit

2020

JANUARY

FEBRUARY

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

Arbour Hill

97

73

71

84

86

90

Castlerea

117

92

43

80

87

91

Cloverhill

73

54

25

46

57

46

Cork

139

112

45

82

94

88

Dochas

89

57

48

70

67

58

Limerick

115

88

69

86

49

79

Loughan

75

82

67

71

74

69

Midlands

350

279

183

274

139

280

Mountjoy

198

144

75

179

199

150

Portlaoise

140

94

110

131

126

127

Shelton Abbey

48

32

31

31

31

36

MJ West

96

70

54

78

89

96

Wheatfield

203

150

70

80

144

153

1740

1327

891

1292

1242

1363

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Arbour Hill

72

74

60

57

61

62

65

65

62

55

53

59

Castlerea

N/A

N/A

N/A

59

60

50

52

54

60

59

58

71

Cloverhill

29

28

31

29

37

32

27

28

27

25

26

28

Cork

50

44

43

37

37

38

38

37

36

49

38

38

Dochas

59

61

53

40

40

40

41

41

41

46

41

45

Limerick

71

70

68

69

60

53

55

52

47

55

55

54

Loughan House

95

96

89

66

62

64

64

69

73

74

72

70

Midlands

182

184

151

120

124

132

138

151

130

146

137

143

Mountjoy

76

75

72

47

44

53

84

81

80

76

68

65

Portlaoise

51

54

53

51

48

52

55

56

60

59

56

49

Shelton Abbey

49

46

47

52

57

58

60

59

59

59

59

60

Wheatfield

97

107

94

75

77

65

74

76

69

72

74

73

831

838

761

700

708

699

751

770

744

774

736

755