I propose to take Questions Nos. 477 to 481, inclusive, together.
My officials in the Irish Prison Service have informed me that the term Governors’ Discretionary Fund was replaced by the term Prisoner Assist Programme Fund in 2009.
I am further informed that the purpose and procedures for the use of these funds was initially set out in January 2006 in Irish Prison Service Finance Circular FD/2006/01 (Governors’ Discretionary Funds) with the latest procedures (ACC.002.003 – Prisoner Assist Programme Procedures, Incl. Hardship Payment Procedures) issued in March 2013. These two documents are in the following links for information purposes.
The purpose of the Prisoner Assist Programme is to provide a facility for Governors to identify, prioritise and fund projects for the benefit of prisoners, in a planned and co-ordinated way.
The primary source of funding for the Prisoner Assist Programme are the profits arising from sales in the Prison Shops (referred to as Tuck Shops). Other sources of funding are of less significance and include contributions from work and training receipts and monies from St Vincent de Paul for distribution to prisoners.
A list of the types of expenditure considered eligible for funding from the Prisoner Assist Programme Fund is included at Appendix I of the following procedure issued in March 2013 (ACC.002.003). The governance and accounting arrangements for operation of the Prisoner Assist Programme Fund are also set out in the following procedure (ACC.002.003).
Regarding changes to procedures since 2012, the existing procedure issued in March 2013 replaced procedure ACC.002.002 that issued in November 2011. The only change in the new procedure was the inclusion of payments to the Red Cross Programme and to the Community Return Programme in Appendix I (Types of Eligible Expenditure).
Governors' Discretionary Fund
Prisoner Assist Programme