Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Ceisteanna (561)

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

561. Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the numbers of prisoners in total and in each institution that are locked up for 23 hours or more in a normal day; for 22 to 23 hours in a normal day; for 20 to 22 hours in a normal day; for 18 to 20 hours in a normal day; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21373/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table. The restriction of a prisoner's regime can occur due to a number of factors including, the protection of vulnerable prisoners. This is provided for under Rule 63 of the Prison Rules 2007 which states that a prisoner may, either at his/her own request or when the Governor considers it necessary, in so far as is practicable and subject to the maintenance and good order and safe and secure custody, be kept separate from other prisoners who are reasonably likely to cause significant harm to him/her.

The fact that prisoners seeking protection are immediately separated from the general population or from specific prisoners identified as presenting a threat, clearly demonstrates the commitment of the Irish Prison Service to ensure their safety and security. The status of each prisoner on restricted regime within the prison system is regularly reviewed. If possible, prisoners can be transferred to other institutions where a restricted regime would not be necessary.

In addition, the Governor may decide, for the maintenance of good order in the prison, to remove a prisoner from general association or structured activity to reduce the negative effect that a prisoner or prisoners may have on the general population. This is provided for under Rule 62 of the Prison Rules 2007. There may also be a smaller number of prisoners who would be restricted for medical (Rule 64) or discipline reasons (Rule 67). In July last year, the Director General of the Irish Prison Service established a high level group to look at measures which can be introduced to reduce the number of prisoners currently held on restricted regimes with a view to ensuring that all receive, as a minimum standard, out of cell time of 3 hours per day, to engage in exercise or activity.

Since July 2013, the number of prisoners on a restricted regime has reduced from 339 to 261, a reduction of 23%. Of the 261 currently on a restricted regime, 228 were for protection reasons (of which 226 were there at their own request). 26 prisoners had there regime restricted on grounds of order (Rule 62). In addition the number of prisoners restricted to 22 or 23 hour lock up has reduced from 211 in July 2013 to 43 in April 2014, a reduction of 168 or almost 80%. A full breakdown of the number of prisoners on a restricted regime, on 1 April 2014, is set out in the following table:

Prison

No. On

23 Hour

No. On

22 hour

No. On

21 hour

No. On

20 hour

No. On

19 hour

Total on Restricted regime

Arbour Hill

0

0

0

0

0

0

Castlerea

0

0

0

0

0

0

Cloverhill

2

0

0

0

0

2

Cork

2

0

13

0

15

30

Dochas

1

0

0

0

0

1

Limerick

0

0

62

0

7

69

Loughan House

0

0

0

0

0

0

Midlands

18

0

0

0

0

18

Mountjoy (M)

0

0

5

44

5

54

Portlaoise

0

0

0

0

11

11

Shelton Abbey

0

0

0

0

0

0

St Pats

0

0

0

0

0

0

Training Unit

0

0

0

0

0

0

Wheatfield

20

0

54

0

2

76

Totals

43

0

134

44

40

261