Thursday, 27 January 2011
Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform
Question 67: To ask the Minister for Justice and Law Reform further to Parliamentary Question No. 55 of 8 December 2010, if the requested information is now available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4297/11]
I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the information is now to hand. The number of prisoners in custody on the 17th December 2010 (when the survey required to answer this Question was initiated) was 4,397. Details are set out in the table.
The Deputy will be aware that there has been major progress in recent years in terms of addressing and eliminating the problems presented by slopping out. 72% of our accommodation now has in-cell sanitation. New spaces at Castlerea, Portlaoise and Wheatfield Prisons have been made available. In addition, construction has commenced on the extension to the Midlands Prison which is due to open in 2012. With these developments, the proportion of prisoners with access to full sanitation facilities will rise to in excess of 80% of the total prisoner population. The final elimination of the remaining outdated accommodation, mainly at Mountjoy and Cork Prisons, and to a lesser degree at Portlaoise and Limerick is dependent on the progress of the Thornton Hall and Kilworth Projects.
I might also add that a new camping style toilet/commode has been tested recently on a trial basis, in Mountjoy, Limerick and Cork Prisons. I understand the initial feedback from prisoners was positive and the Irish Prison Service is now rolling out this initiative to all areas where prisoners currently slop out. The Irish Prison Service also has toilet patrols in operation until late evening in Mountjoy, Cork and Limerick Prisons with staff rostered to provide this function after final lock in the evenings. Prisoners requesting to use toilet facilities after these times are accommodated where possible. The possibility of extending toilet patrols is being further examined by the Irish Prison Service.
Finally, in assembling the information for this reply, the Deputy may wish to note the following interpretations placed on the Question:
1. Where the Question refers to "in private", this is taken to mean that modesty screens are available when prisoners wish to use toilets / chamber pots. The term "private" is taken to refer to the availability of a modesty screen because, for operational and prisoner safety reasons, no prisoner is allowed to be entirely out of the view of prison staff at any time.
2. The term "prisoners required to use normal toilet facilities but in the presence of others" is taken to refer to prisoners occupying cells with a normal flush toilet installed but where the cells are occupied by more than one prisoner.
|Institution||Number in custody on 17/12/ 2010||No. of prisoners who are sole occupants of a cell that has a normal flush toilet installed or have access to toilet facilities in private at all times||No. of prisoners who are required to slop-out||No. of prisoners who are required to use normal toilet facilities in the presence of others|
|Limerick MaleLimerick Female||29829||86||99||142|
|St. Patrick's Institution||210||120||0||90|
** In relation to the Training Unit, it should be noted that the 39 prisoners required to slop out have access to private toilet facilities during the day and evening.