Written answers

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Department of Justice and Equality

Prison Accommodation

Photo of Clare DalyClare Daly (Dublin North, Socialist Party)
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156. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will provide information on the current number of prisoners occupying cells in the new block in Midlands Prison, County Laois; the extent to which the new block is currently being utilized; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24886/13]

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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I can inform the Deputy that the opening of the new block is taking place over a phased basis. On 21 May 2013, there were 726 prisoners in custody in the Midlands Prison. Of these, 197 prisoners were occupying cells in the new block across four of the six wings. Plans to open the remaining wings are progressing and are dependent on the finalisation of the joint Task Review reports for the Mountjoy campus and the recruitment of Prison Administrative and Support Officers.

Photo of Clare DalyClare Daly (Dublin North, Socialist Party)
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157. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the current number of prisoners currently occupying the recently refurbished Mountjoy B wing, Dublin; the number of overall bed capacity of Mountjoy Prison for the months of February, March and April 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24887/13]

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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I wish to advise the Deputy that the number of prisoners occupying the B wing in Mountjoy Prison on 21 May 2013 was 117. The overall bed capacity of Mountjoy Prison is 540. This bed capacity has not changed during the months of February, March and April 2013.

Photo of Anne FerrisAnne Ferris (Wicklow, Labour)
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158. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the refurbishment of the Harristown House development, County Roscommon; the expected completion date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24897/13]

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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I can inform the Deputy that refurbishment of the Harristown House development is nearing completion and is expected to be ready for accommodating low risk prisoners by early June, 2013.

Photo of Anne FerrisAnne Ferris (Wicklow, Labour)
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159. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the development of Cloverhill/Loughan House, Dublin; the expected date for completion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24898/13]

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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The Irish Prison Service advises me that no significant development works are either underway or planned at either Cloverhill Prison or Loughan House Open Centre during 2013.

However a range of smaller projects being undertaken at Loughan House this year comprises a bundle of small works that was put together in order to achieve economies of scale. Essentially the projects involve the relocation of the medical surgery from an upper floor to the ground floor area, refurbishment of two shower rooms, roof repairs, replacement of some floor coverings and replacement of a number of doors that were damaged beyond repair. The works commenced on April 15th and are scheduled to be completed in July next.

A similar range of smaller projects at Cloverhill have been completed. Most of these projects were in response to recommendations by the Irish Prison Service Transformation Team as part of the Joint Task Review reports with a view to achieving staffing efficiencies. I am further informed by the Irish Prison Service that there are plans afoot to undertake a further project later this year involving the building of observation hubs in the exercise yards. which will achieve considerable staffing efficiencies.

Photo of Anne FerrisAnne Ferris (Wicklow, Labour)
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160. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the development of the Mountjoy Prison A wing, Dublin 7; the current expected date for completion; if there will be full in-cell sanitation once the refurbishments are completed within this prison by the end of 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24899/13]

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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I can advise the Deputy that the refurbishment project in Mountjoy, which forms part of a 40-month Capital Plan, published in April 2012 as part of the Prison service Three Year Strategic Plan 2012-2015, includes the installation of in-cell sanitation to all cells in Mountjoy Prison. You will be aware that the C and B wings were completed in 2012.

Refurbishment of Mountjoy "A" wing commenced in December, 2012. The works are expected to be completed in September this year. When works are completed, every cell in the wing will have a flushing toilet and a wash hand basin with hot and cold water supply.

I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that consultants will shortly be appointed to assist in the planning, design and supervision of a complete refurbishment of Mountjoy Prison "D" wing. It is intended to close the "D" wing in September for the refurbishment works that will be completed by July, 2014. At that stage every cell in Mountjoy Prison will have full in cell sanitation facilities. Once the refurbishment of the D wing commences, slopping out will have finally ended in Mountjoy.

Photo of Anne FerrisAnne Ferris (Wicklow, Labour)
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161. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of operational dedicated committal areas that are fully operational in all committal prisons at present. [24900/13]

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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I can inform the Deputy that there are dedicated committal areas in all committal prisons at present with the exception of the female Dochas Centre in Mountjoy Prison. Work is currently underway on this project and a Unit is expected to be operational later this year. Portlaoise does not have a designated committal area as it only receives a small number of committals directly from the Special Criminal Court.

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