Written answers

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform

Prison Drug Treatment Services

11:00 pm

Photo of Ciarán LynchCiarán Lynch (Cork South Central, Labour)
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Question 947: To ask the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of prisoners in receipt of methadone treatment in each prison; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32459/10]

Photo of Dermot AhernDermot Ahern (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Louth, Fianna Fail)
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It may assist the Deputy and the House if I set out current policy in this area. The Irish Prison Service continues to work to implement its Drugs Policy & Strategy, entitled Keeping Drugs Out of Prison, which was launched in May 2006 using a number of stands. Firstly, through the implementation of stringent measures to prevent drugs from getting into prisons; and secondly, by continuing to invest in services within prisons to reduce the demand for illicit drugs in the prisoner population as well as meeting prisoners' treatment and rehabilitative needs. Of particular significance is that now any person entering prison giving a history of opiate use and testing positive for opioids is offered a medically assisted symptomatic detoxification if clinically indicated. Patientscan, as part of the assessment process, discuss with healthcare staff other treatment options. These may include stabilization on methadone maintenance for persons who wish to continue on maintenance while in prison and when they return to the community on release. Prisoners who on committal are engaged in a methadone substitution programme in the community will in the main have their methadone substitution treatment continued while in custody. As the Deputy may be aware methadone substitution treatment is available in 8 out of the 14 prisons (accommodating over 75% of the prison population) in the prison estate. The table below shows the number of patients who received opiate substitution treatment with methadone during August 2010 which includes detox, maintenance and stabilisation.

PrisonsTotal patients during August 2010
Cloverhill Prison172
Dochas Centre65
Limerick Prison26
Midlands Prison68
Mountjoy Prison249
Portlaoise Prison24
St Patrick's Institution1
Wheatfield Prison98
TOTALS703

Photo of Ciarán LynchCiarán Lynch (Cork South Central, Labour)
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Question 948: To ask the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the allocations within the Education subhead of the Prison Vote to each of the following educational areas in 2008 and 2010: the Education Unit in each prison, each public library service involved in prisons, the Open University, the National College of Art and Design, the Alternative to Violence Project, Arts Council projects in prisons and post-release education support for prisoners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32460/10]

Photo of Dermot AhernDermot Ahern (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Louth, Fianna Fail)
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The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following tables.

Education Unit200820092010
Arbour Hill29,28219,97520,000
Castlerea71,52952,04750,000
Cloverhill30,39824,75423,000
Cork75,17438,66738,000
Dóchas48,86840,79435,000
Limerick51,78448,04248,000
Loughan House50,90642,28730,000
Midlands181,45895,92965,000
Mountjoy64,69050,42650,000
Portlaoise120,69587,53350,000
Shelton Abbey36,14830,48125,000
St Patrick's71,04572,54650,000
Training Unit30,88523,40120,000
Wheatfield227,789116,54970,000
Libraries200820092010
Dublin265,099215,956198,000
Laois113,247111,36790,000
Roscommon16999,39154,000
Cavan23,53615,33414,500
Wicklow17,63817,14914,500
Limerick——12,000
Others
HOPE Project, Cork17,00017,00010,000
Dillons Cross, Cork5,4009,00010,000
Alternatives to Violence35,0007,000—
National College of Art and Design81,79540,84825,000
Arts Council14,61021,00021,000
Open University220,539138,043120,000

The figures for 2010 are provisional based on the allocations for each area. Final outturn figures will be available in January 2011. The provision of a part-time professional librarian service commenced in Castlerea in 2009 and in Limerick in 2010. The costs in relation to libraries covers the salaries of professional librarians and the costs relating to providing new book stocks, both of which are refunded to local library services. The Alternatives to Violence organisation have not, to date, submitted a proposal in relation to 2010. Educational services are now available at all institutions and are provided in partnership with a range of educational agencies in the community, notably the Vocational Education Committees (VECs). Broad programmes of education are made available which generally follow an adult education approach. The Department of Education and Skills provide an allocation of whole-time teacher equivalents to the prisons through the VECs (220 in the academic year 2010/11). This enables education to be offered in all prisons including provision for the summer months and also special teaching arrangements where prisoners are segregated.

Photo of Ciarán LynchCiarán Lynch (Cork South Central, Labour)
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Question 949: To ask the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of prisoners on 23 hour lock up in each prison; the number of these prisoners who have access to education services and the nature of that access; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32461/10]

Photo of Dermot AhernDermot Ahern (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Louth, Fianna Fail)
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I wish to advise the Deputy and the House that the term 'Protection Prisoners' is used by the Irish Prison Service to distinguish those prisoners who would be considered to be under threat or "at risk" in the general population due, for example, to gangland feuding, drug debts, because they gave evidence in a court case or because of the nature of their offence. A number of our prisons have significant numbers of what would be regarded as protection prisoners accommodated on separate landings who have access to a wide regime of activities including school, workshops, gym facilities, probation service and chaplaincy service. However, there are a cohort of protection prisoners who are subject to a more restricted regime. The majority of these prisoners are located in our older prisons which because of constraints on space, resources, staffing levels and the simple number of factions which have to be kept separate from each other, are not in a position to offer enhanced regimes to these prisoners. The numbers requested by the Deputy are set out in the following table as of 23 September 2010

Prison/Place of DetentionNumber of Prisoners on 23 hour lock up
Arbour Hill Prison0
Castlerea Prison23
Cloverhill Prison1
Cork Prison14
Dóchas Centre0
Limerick Prison6
Loughan House0
Midlands Prison26
Mountjoy Prison (male)153
Portlaoise Prison0
Shelton Abbey0
St. Patrick's Institution40
Training Unit0
Wheatfield Prison45
Total308

This cohort of prisoner subject to 23 hour protection do not have access to normal educational services. Efforts are made on a continuous basis to reduce the numbers of protection prisoners who fall into this category and regular transfers take place to other institutions where a prisoner will not require protection. In addition, the recently refurbished Separation Unit in Mountjoy Prison has now opened and provides 50 spaces with in-cell sanitation and secure exercise yards for this category of prisoner. The Unit provides enhanced accommodation for prisoners including in -cell sanitation and prisoners have access to a range of services including medical, gym facilities, probation service and chaplaincy service.

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