Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Ceisteanna (309)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

309. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the criteria used to determine whether to grant an application from a prisoner to transfer to a different prison; if there are different procedures for different categories of prisoners, different stages of their sentences and different prisons; if agreement on a Ministerial, governor's or head of the Prison Service basis is required; the number of such requests referred to the Minister each year; and the number granted and refused respectively. [9408/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by my officials in the Irish Prison Service (IPS) that prisoner transfers are carried out for a number of reasons but in general they fall into two categories, i.e. those carried out for operational reasons and those effected at the request of a prisoner.

Transfers for operational reasons may be necessary for a variety of reasons including overcrowding, the need to protect a prisoner from other prisoners or to reallocate cell space to another prisoner or group of prisoners. Other common reasons for prisoner transfers include court appearances, to participate in a particular training or educational course or to assist in reintegration. Recommendations are also made to me in relation to the transfer of long term sentenced prisoners by the Parole Board.

When making decisions in relation to the transfer of prisoners for the two categories listed above, a range of factors are taken into consideration including:

- The safety and best interests of the prisoner

- The nature and gravity of the offence

- Length of sentence served to date

- Length of sentence left to serve

- Behaviour in prison

- Prisoner’s medical needs

- Previous criminal record

- The views of local management and services

- The capacity of a receiving prison to accommodate a given prisoner

My statutory powers in relation to decision-making in respect of transfers have been delegated to a number of senior officials in the IPS. The consent of neither prison governors nor the Director General IPS is required.

All decision making staff are aware of the need to take appropriate account of all the criteria to be applied to decision making in a balanced and considered manner.

I am advised by the IPS that statistics are not kept concerning the category of transfer applications, however the figures for all prison transfer applications from 2016 to date are outlined in the table below.

 

2016 table

Prison

Total Applications

Approved

Rejected

Deferred

Arbour Hill Prison

144

96

47

1

Castlerea Prison

675

615

59

1

Cloverhill Remand Prison

908

869

33

6

Cork Prison

767

729

35

3

Limerick Prison

859

800

52

7

Loughan House Place Of Detn.

515

273

234

8

Midlands Prison

1,672

1,528

132

12

Mountjoy Prison (Female)

56

55

1

0

Mountjoy Prison (Male)

718

559

149

10

Portlaoise Prison

627

572

48

7

Shelton Abbey Place Of Detn.

586

237

344

5

St. Patricks Institution

16

13

3

0

Training Unit Place Of Detn.

370

223

140

7

Wheatfield Place of Detention

1,869

1,810

52

7

Total 

9,782

8,379

1,329

74

 

2017   table

Prison  

Total   Applications

Approved

Rejected

Deferred

Arbour   Hill Prison

144

96

47

1

Castlerea   Prison

675

615

59

1

Cloverhill   Remand Prison

908

869

33

6

Cork   Prison

767

729

35

3

Limerick   Prison

859

800

52

7

Loughan   House Place Of Detn.

515

273

234

8

Midlands   Prison

1,672

1,528

132

12

Mountjoy   Prison ( Female)

56

55

1

0

Mountjoy   Prison ( Male )

718

559

149

10

Portlaoise   Prison

627

572

48

7

St.   Patricks Institution

16

13

3

0

Training   Unit Place Of Detn.

370

223

140

7

Wheatfield   Place of Detention

1,869

1,810

52

7

Total

9,196

8,142

985

69

2018 table (to date)

Establishment Name

Total Applications

Approved

Rejected

Deferred

Arbour   Hill Prison

54

34

20

0

Castlerea   Prison

139

132

6

1

Cloverhill   Remand Prison

117

116

1

0

Cork   Prison

150

129

20

1

Limerick   Prison

122

116

6

0

Loughan   House Place Of Detn.

67

44

23

0

Midlands   Prison

354

329

22

3

Mountjoy   Prison ( Female)

16

16

0

0

Mountjoy   Prison ( Male )

136

119

14

3

Portlaoise   Prison

145

137

8

0

Shelton   Abbey Place Of Detn.

42

29

12

1

Wheatfield   Place of Detention

356

346

8

2

Total

1,698

1,547

140

11