Written answers

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform

Prison Recreational Facilities

10:30 am

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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Question 36: To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the recreational equipment that is available to prisoners in St. Patrick's Institution, Dublin 1. [24950/10]

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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Question 37: To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps he taking to ensure that educational opportunities are available to prisoners in St. Patrick's Institution, Dublin 1. [24951/10]

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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Question 38: To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps he is taking to ensure that young persons incarcerated in St. Patrick's Institution and in the training unit, Mountjoy Prison, do not spend too much time locked in their cells, in some cases up to 18 hours a day. [24952/10]

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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Question 39: To ask the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the facilities available in the training unit, Mountjoy Prison, Dublin, for recreation, training and education; the hours a prisoner is expected to spend at those activities on an average day; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24953/10]

Photo of Dermot AhernDermot Ahern (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Louth, Fianna Fail)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 36 to 39, inclusive, together.

St Patrick's Institution accommodates both remand and sentenced male prisoners aged 16 to 21 years of age. It contains a special unit for those under the age of 18. On 8th June 2010 there were 212 prisoners in custody in St. Patrick's Institution.

In the Work and Training area, a number of vocational workshops are currently in operation - covering Woodwork and Joinery, Metal Work, Computer Training, Industrial Cleaning and Catering. Some inmates also work in the laundry, with others engaged in painting, general cleaning and horticultural work around the Institution.

Education in St Patrick's Institution is provided in partnership with the City of Dublin VEC and there is currently an allocation of 20 wholetime equivalent teachers. A wide range of subjects is taught in the school, including Art, Literacy, PE, Woodwork, Craftwork, Computer Skills, English, Maths, CSP, History and Drama.

A wide range of recreational facilities are available to prisoners in St Patrick's Institution, including a number of gymnasia staffed by trained gym instructors. Other recreational facilities and activities include a library, football, table tennis, chess, pool and television. All prisoners have regular access to outdoor exercise.

St Patrick's Institution is a closed prison and operates to the standard prison regime therefore inmates have 7 hours and 15 minutes out of cell time. Under eighteens get 8 hours out of cell time because they dine communally.

The Training Unit is a semi-open, low security prison for males aged 18 years and over, serving sentences up to life. On 8 June 2010 there were 114 prisoners in custody in the Training Unit.

There are a number of vocational workshops in the Training Unit which provide accredited training in a range of disciplines, including Welding, Computer Skills, and Catering. In addition, a number of prisoners participate in external placements on day release.

In partnership with the City of Dublin VEC the Training Unit has a teaching staff of 7.5 wholetime equivalents. A wide range of educational courses is provided, ranging from literacy and numeracy up to certified courses including FETAC and Junior and Leaving Certificate.

Recreational facilities are available to all inmates from 5pm to 9.30pm every day and at weekends and public holidays from 9.00am to 9.30pm. There is a large sports hall staffed by trained gym instructors. Other recreational facilities and activities include a library, football, table tennis, pool and television. All prisoners have regular access to outdoor exercise.

As a semi-open prison the Training Unit is able to allow its prisoners more latitude in terms of out of cell time than prisons that have a higher security rating. All prisoners are unlocked between 8.15am and 9.30pm.

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