Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 447 - Prison services [31576/11].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 447 - Prison services [31576/11]. (25 Oct 2011)

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Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): The Irish Prison Service provides a range of rehabilitative programmes which have the dual purpose of providing prisoners with purposeful activity while serving their sentences and encouraging and equipping them to lead productive lives on release. The full range of services is available to all prisoners, although prisoners on shorter sentences may not be able to complete the full range of coursework and programmes. Staff however have a wealth of experience in tailoring programmes to suit both short term and long term prisoners and endeavour to provide as complete a regime as possible within the time available. 

Programmes provided include healthcare, psychiatric, psychological, educational, work and training, vocational, counselling, welfare and spiritual services. These are important in addressing offending behaviour, drug and alcohol addiction, missed educational and vocational opportunities, anger management, and self management in the interest of encouraging positive personal development and preparation for re-integration and resettlement on release from custody.
Educational services are available at all institutions and are provided in partnership with a range of agencies including the VECs, Public Library Services, Colleges and the Arts Council. The Department of Education and Skills provides an allocation of 220 whole-time teacher equivalents which has remained unaltered since 2007. Literacy, numeracy and general basic education provision is the priority and broad programmes of education are made available which generally follow an adult education approach. During 2010, approximately 35% of the prison population attended classes. A significant expansion and development of vocational training programmes has taken place in recent years with over 90 workshops in place capable of catering for in excess of 800 prisoners each day. 874 prisoners attended such courses last year, up from 376 who participated in 2009.
The Psychology Service offers group and individual interventions to all prisoners. Group interventions include programmes on motivational enhancement, relapse prevention, anxiety management, dialectical behaviour therapy, stress management, enhanced thinking skills and anger control. A particular emphasis has been put on the development of programmes for prisoners convicted of sex offences and violent offences. Individual interventions comprise therapeutic work focusing on mental health care and offence-related issues, motivational and crisis counselling. Progress is also being made on the development of programmes based on risk assessment and rehabilitation needs.
The Probation Service also helps prisoners to maintain links with family and community agencies, encouraging them to address their offending behaviour, and engaging prisoners in individual counselling and group counselling programmes such as offending behaviour, addiction, violence and sex offending.
Question No. 448 answered with Question No. 445.
Written Answers - Prison Services
Vol. 744 No. 4
Tuesday, 25 October 2011

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