135. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of prisoners sleeping on mattresses on the floor each night in all prisons during November and December 2018 and January 2019. [6138/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I wish to inform the Deputy that the information in relation to the number of prisoners sleeping on mattresses on the floor each night in all prisons during November and December 2018 and January 2019 is available in the tables attached in the link below as provided by the Irish Prison Service.
I am advised that the attached tables reflect the number of instances of prisoners sleeping on mattresses on cell floors in Cloverhill, Wheatfield, Midlands, Castlerea, Cork and Limerick prisons each night during the period in question. I am further advised that in the remaining 6 prisons, no prisoner slept on the floor.
The Deputy will appreciate that prison Governors are required by law to accept all prisoners into their custody who have been committed to prison by the Courts. The Irish Prison Service therefore has no control over the numbers committed to custody at any given time.
My officials in the Irish Prison Service work closely with the Governors of affected prisons to alleviate capacity issues, by identifying prisoners who may be suitable for transfer to other prisons or prisoners who may be suitable for structured early release.
Decisions in relation to temporary release are considered on a case by case basis and the safety of the public is paramount when decisions are made.
Numbers of Prisoners