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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 40 - Irish Prison Service. [5249/14]

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 40 - Irish Prison Service. [5249/14]. (05 Feb 2014)

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40. Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will provide an update on implementing the Irish Prison Service Strategic Plan 2012–2015 and implementation of its key recommendations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5249/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): The Deputy will be aware that I published the Irish Prison Service 3-Year Strategic Plan in April 2012. I am pleased to note that significant progress has already been achieved by the Irish Prison Service with regard to the implementation of the Strategy. The Community Return Programme has been successfully rolled out across all prisons. In excess of 800 prisoners have participated in the scheme since its introduction with 583 prisoners having successfully completed the programme.
 
Dedicated committals units have now been established in all committal prisons and appropriate assessment procedures to ensure that prisoners are accommodated according to their security status have been introduced.
 
Significant work has been completed on the plan for the closure of St Patrick's Institution. In December last year all sentenced juveniles were transferred from St Patrick's Institution to a dedicated unit in Wheatfield Place of Detention. The transfer of the 18-21 cohort has commenced and will be completed by mid-February 2014.
 
A national Incentivised Regimes policy has been introduced to provide tangible incentives to prisoners to participate in structured activities and reinforce incentives for good behaviour. Work has also continued on the implementation of the Irish Prison Service Drugs Policy and Strategy to develop drug treatment services and enhance supply reduction measures across the prison estate. Drug free units have been established in the majority of prisons.
 
The Deputy will also be aware that significant action has been taken to modernise the prison estate and to introduce in-cell sanitation in every locked cell. The refurbishment project in Mountjoy Prison is continuing. The refurbishment of the A, B and C wings is now complete and the work on the final wing, the D Wing, is due to commence shortly. In addition, construction has now commenced on the construction of the new prison in Cork. On 14th January the number of prisoners slopping out had reduced to 465 and this will reduce further when the D wing of Mountjoy is closed for refurbishment. A detailed update on the Year 2 Implementation Plan for the Irish Prison Service Strategy will be included in the 2013 Irish Prison Service Annual Report which is due to be published in March.

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