Written answers

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Department of Justice and Equality

Prisoner Numbers

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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159. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the total number of prisoners currently occupying the various prisons throughout the country; the extent to which overcrowding has occurred; the number of instances in respect of which two, three, four, five or more prisoners occupy a cell; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40076/13]

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 in custody in each prison, and the current bed capacity in each, on 20 September 2013 is as follows:-

InstitutionNumber in CustodyBed Capacity% of Bed Capacity
Arbour Hill14114299%
Castlerea358340105%
Cloverhill41543196%
Cork224210107%
Dóchas117105111%
Limerick (m)223220101%
Limerick (f)3128111%
Loughan13514096%
Midlands83587096%
Mountjoy (Male)51754096%
Portlaoise25929189%
Shelton11311598%
St Patrick's Institution8819146%
Training Unit10411095%
Wheatfield53068078%
Totals4090441393%

There has been an appreciable decrease in overall prisoner numbers in recent months and at present the prison system is operating at slightly below capacity in overall terms, although a small number of prisons remain above capacity. On a recent occasion the total number briefly went below 4000 for the first time in four years.

As outlined in the Irish Prison Service Three Year Strategic Plan, it is intended to align the capacity of our prisons with the guidelines laid down by the Inspector of Prisons by 2014, in so far as this is compatible with public safety and the integrity of the criminal justice system. Priority has been given to reducing the chronic overcrowding in Mountjoy, Cork, Limerick Prisons and the Dóchas Centre. There has been a significant improvement in the situation in relation to Mountjoy and good progress has also been made in relation to the other prisons.

In relation to the extent of multiple occupancy of prison cells, I can advise the Deputy that the information requested is not readily available. I will forward the reply to the Deputy as soon as the information is to hand.

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