Dáil Éireann - Volume 399 - 13 June, 1990
Written Answers. - Prisoner Entitlements.
Mr. R. Bruton Mr. R. Bruton
61. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Justice the standard entitlements for prisoners in Irish prisons in relation to (a) cell accommodation, (b) number of hours out of their cells, (c) change of clothing, (d) showering and washing facilities, (e) participation in education/counselling and (f) visits; and if he will make a statement on whether  his Department monitor the extent to which these standards are achieved in Irish prisons.
Minister for Justice (Mr. Burke) Raphael P. Burke
Minister for Justice (Mr. Burke): The standard entitlements of prisoners in relation to accommodation and general treatment are set out in the Rules for the Government of Prisons, 1947 to 1983. The standard of cell accommodation provided for prisoners ranges from single cell accommodation to dormitory type accommodation, some details of which are given in the Annual Reports on Prisons and Places of Detention. The quality of the accommodation provided is continually being upgraded and this year £8 million has been provided for this purpose.
With the exception of a small number of prisoners, who for security reasons or for their own safety have to be confined in segregated accommodation, all prisoners in closed prisons are unlocked at about 8 a.m. each day and with the exception of meal breaks remain out of their cells until about 8 p.m. which is lock-up time. More liberal arrangements apply in the open centres.
All prisoners receive a change of underclothing — generally twice a week. All prisoners are enabled to wash daily and shower at least once a week.
Work training and educational facilities are provided by qualified teaching staff and instructors. Each institution has assigned to it fully qualified welfare staff to counsel prisoners and counselling is also provided by chaplains assigned to the institutions. Psychiatrists and psychologists are also engaged to provide services as required.
In general each prisoner is entitled to at least one visit each week but, in practice, visits are allowed more frequently where circumstances permit.
The level and standard of service provided for prisoners is very closely monitored by my Department and is continually reviewed with a view to upgrading where practicable.
Dáil Éireann 399 Written Answers. Prisoner Entitlements.