Dáil Éireann - Volume 608 - 20 October, 2005
Written Answers - Prison Accommodation.
Mr. Howlin Mr. Howlin
30. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to the recent report of the inspector of prisons which describes the system of slopping out in Cork Prison as unacceptable and that the prison was the most overcrowded in the system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29762/05]
Mr. McDowell Mr. McDowell
Mr. McDowell: I have been made aware of the contents of the inspector’s report on Cork Prison. Cork Prison had an original design capacity of 150 persons and has a current bed capacity figure of 263. On 18 October 2005, the number of persons detained there was 231.
As mentioned in the inspector’s report, the variance between the design capacity and the bed capacity is as a result of “doubling up” cells originally designed for single occupancy, a practice which has not been uncommon in the prison system in previous attempts to address overcrowding. The bed capacity figure has recently been reduced from 271 to 263 as a result of the conversion of a number of six man cells for use as two man cells.
With regard to the issue of “slopping out”, the Deputy will be aware that one of the reasons I intend to proceed with plans for new prison complexes in north County Dublin and Spike Island is to provide in-cell sanitation facilities for all prisoners. It is intended that the new prison complexes will address the overcrowding difficulties that arise from time to time and they will offer significant improvements in the areas of work, training, educational and medical services for inmates as well as providing predominantly single cell accommodation with proper in-cell sanitation facilities.
Dáil Éireann 608 Written Answers Prison Accommodation.