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284. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps taken to ensure first-time offenders in prison are segregated during recreation or rehabilitative training from members of criminal gangs seeking to recruit new membership; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6033/18]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I am advised by my officials in the Irish Prison Service that there is a standard operational procedure in place to ensure that upon committal, all offenders are assessed and accommodated appropriately according to their needs and specific security status. Dedicated committal units have been established in all committal prisons for this purpose.
The Irish Prison Service provides a wide range of rehabilitative programmes that include education, vocational training, health care, psychiatric, psychological, counselling, welfare and spiritual services. Every effort is taken to ensure that prisoners are accommodated appropriately to ensure that they can avail of as many rehabilitative programmes and services as possible. Question No. 285 answered with Question No. 278.