Friday, 16 September 2016
Department of Justice and Equality
Prison Service Strategies
153. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the consideration that has been given by her Department to the development of out-of-cell time of at least 14.5 hours per day for young adults in prison, with full educational, training, work, recreation and social interaction opportunities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25668/16]
I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that It endeavours to allow prisoners to spend as much time as possible each day out of their cell or room to associate with other prisoners. Rule 27(3) of the Prison Rules 2007 states "In so far as is practicable, each convicted prisoner should be engaged in authorised structured activity for a period of not less than five hours on each of five days in each week".
In general prison cells are unlocked at approximately 8.15am each morning for breakfast. Prisoners collect breakfast and return to cells, which are then locked from 8.45am to 9.15am. Cells are again unlocked for prisoners to attend work, school , visits and exercise. Prisoners return for lunch at 12:00pm and cells are locked at 12.30pm. Afternoon unlock commences at 2.15pm and prisoners return to structured activities in schools, workshops and visits. Evening tea is served from 4pm and cells are locked from 4.30pm to 5.20pm when evening recreation commences until all cells are locked at 7.30pm. This allows for total out cell time of up to 8 hours.
I am further advised by the Irish Prison Service that it provides a wide range of rehabilitative programmes to persons in custody that include education, vocational training, healthcare, psychiatric, psychological, counselling, welfare and spiritual services. These programmes offer purposeful activity to those in custody while serving their sentences and encourage them to lead law abiding lives on release. These programmes are available in all prisons and all persons in custody are eligible to use the services.
There are no plans to increase out of cell time at present.