Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Ceisteanna (563)

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

563. Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of workshop and work-training posts that are vacant in each prison; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21376/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that the following table shows the existing vacancies for workshop and work training posts in each Prison:

Prison

Vacancies

Arbour Hill

0

Castlerea

1

Cloverhill

0

Cork

0

Dochas

0

Limerick

2

Loughan House

0

Midlands

6

Mountjoy

2

Portlaoise

1

Shelton Abbey

0

St. Patrick's Institution

0

Training Unit

0

Wheatfield

1

Vacancies are in the process of being filled by a combination of redeployment of Prison Service clerical staff under the Haddington Road/Croke Park Agreement and from a current Work Training Officer panel. While it is not possible to give a definitive timescale for the filling of all posts, the matter is being treated as a priority by IPS and it is hoped to have the vacancies filled by mid-summer this year.

The Irish Prison Service places a strong emphasis on improving prisoners’ employability prospects through work training activities and accredited vocational training courses. A wide range of training workshops operate within the institutions e.g. printing, computers, braille, woodwork, metalwork, construction, industrial cleaning, crafts and horticulture. There are over 100 workshops and service activities across the prison estate. In March, the latest month for which statistics are available, an average of over 1,057 prisoners engaged in these vocational training activities and courses each day - 26% of the average prison population in that month.

The Irish Prison Service 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 such as City and Guilds, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), and the Guild of Launders and Cleaners and the centralising of coordination and quality assurance arrangements have enabled us to extend the number of available courses and activities with certification.