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Question

100. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the education budget for the Irish Prison Service in 2017, 2018 and 2019; the amount of the budget that was spent in 2017 and 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15806/19]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I am advised by my officials in the Irish Prison Service that educational services are available at all prisons, provided in partnership with the Education and Training Boards and a range of other educational agencies.  Broad programmes of education are provided which generally follow an adult education approach.  Separate to the IPS Education budget, the Department of Education and Skills funds an allocation of 220 whole-time teacher equivalents to the prisons through the Education and Training Boards.
I wish to advise the Deputy that the  education budget for the years requested is outlined in the following table, along with expenditure in 2017 and 2018.

Year Budget Expenditure
2017 1.065 M 1.072 M
2018 1.265 M 1.162 M
2019 1.265 M  

Expenditure through the Irish Prison Service Vote covers the incidental day-to-day costs of running the Education Centres, including the purchase and repair of educational equipment, the purchase of course resource materials and educational software. 
The aim of the Prison Education Service is to deliver a high quality, broad, flexible programme of education that helps people in custody cope with their sentence, achieve personal development, prepare for life after release and establish an appetite and capacity for life-long learning.  The Service seeks to deliver relevant programmes that cater for holistic needs, ensure broad access and high participation, and prioritise those with basic education and literacy needs.  It promotes the principles of adult and community education and supports a multi-disciplinary approach within the prison system.
Programmes are adapted to take account of the diversity of the prisoner population and the complex nature of prison life, including segregation requirements and high levels of prisoner turnover.  Educational courses and curricula which are based on individuals participating in one or more subject areas for an academic year and then sitting examinations are only appropriate for a small number of prisoners.  The Junior and Leaving Certificate are made available but increasing numbers of people in custody require a more flexible curriculum which has multiple entry and exit points that take account of prior educational attainment.  QQI accreditation is therefore widely used with assessment by portfolio compilation.  All prison Education Centres meet the quality assurance standards demanded by QQI.